About the Author
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was born in Salem, Massachusetts, and made his ambition to be a writer while still a teenager. He graduated from Bowdoin College in Maine, where the poet Longfellow was also a student, and spent several years travelling in New England and writing short stories before his best-known novel The Scarlet Letter was published in 1850. His writing was not at first financially rewarding and he worked as measurer and surveyor in the Boston and Salem Custom Houses. In 1853 he was sent to Liverpool as American consul and then lived in Italy before returning to the US in 1860, where he died in his sleep four years later. Mary Oliver is the author of eleven books of poetry, including American Primitive, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; New and Selected Poems, which won the National Book Award; and House of Light, which won the Christopher Award and the L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award. She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.