Catherine Bishop (School of fish) may be the best writer ever to have begun a career so inauspiciously. Her first job interview was scheduled such that she had to appear directly from her waitressing job, in her waitressing uniform. But since good writing always trumps a fashion faux pas, she got the job at the Devils Lake Daily Journal and her now impressive career was off and running. After several years of hard work, she joined the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead as entertainment writer, later advancing to features editor. A year ago she became the grant writer for Trollwood Performing Arts School. Bishop is her pen name; in daily life she is Cathy Jelsing. Her husband is Terry Jelsing, who led the Common Ground project featured in this issue. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After many years as editor-in-chief of Pitt Magazine, Sally Ann Flecker (Living design) is living the dream. She's become her own boss. But it's called a dream for a reason. A freelance writer's credibility is won or lost on her ability to meet deadlines, so when the curse of the tape-eating transcriber falls upon her house, she must act quickly. Sally Ann is no exception. She is in demand as a magazine writer and adjunct member of the University of Pittsburgh's English department for good reason. In addition to ample talent and grace, she now has four transcribers. Her credentials were of little interest, however, the day she traveled to Washington, D.C., to interview North Dakota State University alumna Tama Duffy, whose colleagues were eager to view another North Dakotan, this time one who lives here full time. Apparently Duffy's coworkers already know plenty of people from Pittsburgh.
Sarah Jacobson (Work Play) has taught high school biology, raised five children, earned a doctorate, taught organizational behavior at the university level all things that might have imposed a sense of, well, rigidity, on her writing. Evidence to the contrary comes from biographical tidbits she submitted not in a formal resume but in bits of poetry: "My Mom was a great story teller (the Irish influence I suppose) and my childhood was filled with the stories of my grandmothers (Sarah Anastasia, Mary Frances, Lousanna, and Martha), the hardships they endured and the ways in which they created new lives under difficult circumstances. Those stories helped me believe I was a part of a line of strong women and that I could do anything with my life I set out to do not such a common belief for girls growing up in the '40s and '50s. The stories also gave me 'itchy feet' and a life-long love of travel."
Carole Woiwode (photographs, Letter from Western North Dakota) is manager and co-owner of Anchor West, a photography, registered quarterhorse and writing enterprise in southwestern North Dakota. Her photography has appeared in The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post and The Bismarck Tribune and many other publications.
Larry Woiwode's (A letter from Western North Dakota) fiction has appeared in The Atlantic, Harpers, Paris Review, Partisan Review, and a variety of other publications, including two dozen stories in The New Yorker. His books include What I'm Going To Do, I Think, Beyond the Bedroom Wall (finalist for the National Book Award and Book Critics' Circle Award; Association of American Publishers Distinguished Book of Five Years for presentation to White House Library), Indian Affairs, Silent Passengers, and the memoir What I Think I Did, his sixth book to be named a "notable book of the year" by the New York Times Book Review. He is a Guggenheim Fellow, has conducted writing seminars across the U.S., in England and Europe, and for four years was director of the writing program at the State University of New York, Binghamton. In 1995 he received the Award of Merit Medal from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, presented once every six years, for "distinction in the art of the short story." He has received the Aga Khan Prize, the William Faulkner Foundation Award, the John Dos Passos Prize, the Lanan Foundation Literary Fellowship, among others, and in 1995, by a joint resolution of the state house and legislature, he was named poet laureate of North Dakota. He lives in rural North Dakota where, with his wife and family, he raises registered quarterhorses.