Marilynne Robinson won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel Gilead. Kelly Ruth Winter/Farrar, Straus and Giroux hide caption

itoggle caption Kelly Ruth Winter/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Jane Smiley's previous books include The Man Who Invented the ComputerTen Days in the Hills and Private Life. Michael Lionstar/Couresty of Knopf hide caption

itoggle caption Michael Lionstar/Couresty of Knopf

Repeat Offender: Dav Pilkey created artwork for Banned Books Week featuring his frequently complained-about hero, Captain Underpants. Dav Pilkey hide caption

itoggle caption Dav Pilkey

Author Junot Diaz says the publishing industry must have uncomfortable conversations about diversity. The alternative, he believes, is "utter, agonizing silence." Rick Reinhard/Flickr hide caption

itoggle caption Rick Reinhard/Flickr

The Dey House, a 140-year-old mansion, is home to the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, one of the oldest MFA writing programs in the country. Director Lan Samantha Chang — who attended the workshop as a student — has made it a priority to attract students and faculty from diverse backgrounds to the program. Linda Kahlbaugh/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Linda Kahlbaugh/AP

"When there is danger, when there is destruction, we kind of feel like we're on the edge of life, fully alive, and that can really bring out some strong prose," says author Mitchell Zuckoff. iStockphoto hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto

In addition to her 15 novels, Nadine Gordimer authored several volumes of short stories and nonfiction. Radu Sigheti/Reuters /Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Radu Sigheti/Reuters /Landov