Lee Child is the author of 19 Jack Reacher novels — and is currently working on the 20th. Sigrid Estrada/AP/Random House hide caption

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Soldiers fill a hole left by an explosion on a road outside Beiji, Iraq, in 2005. In his debut novel, Michael Pitre follows a group of Marines doing similar work on Iraq's highways. Ryan Lenz/AP hide caption

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The Hagia Sophia is one of the city's most well-known Byzantine monuments, but it's also home to a lesser-known memorial: a plaque for the man who encouraged the Fourth Crusade's plundering of the city. Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

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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

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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

Mary Lou Longworth has set most of her mysteries in Aix-en-Provence, a small city in Southern France. "I liked the idea of this beautiful, beautiful place having a dark side," she says. Ben Bowes via Flickr hide caption

itoggle caption Ben Bowes via Flickr