Coinciding next fall with the release of his brand-new novel, Nothing West of Dead, past Sojourn author Jess Walter returns as our 2020 Master of Ceremonies. A National Book Award finalist for Citizen Vince and winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award for The Zero, Walter is the author of six novels, one nonfiction book and a collection of short stories. The Washington Post calls him “as talented a natural storyteller as is working in American fiction these days.” Beautiful Ruins was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller and Notable Book of the Year. Salon.com says, "Jess Walter has already proven that he’s one of our great comic writers, a cerebral postmodernist and a savvy plotter of thrillers. Now he has his masterpiece, Beautiful Ruins, an interlocking, continent-hopping, decade-spanning novel with heart and pathos to burn, all big dreams, lost loves, deep longings and damn near perfect." The Financial Lives of the Poets ranked as Time Magazine's No. 2 novel of the year, a book that Esquire called, "brilliant – and brilliantly funny." Kirkus Reviews calls his short story collection, We Live in Water, “a witty and sobering snapshot of recession-era America." His short fiction has won a Pushcart Prize and appeared three times in Best American Short Stories. He was a finalist for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize as part of a team covering the shootout and standoff at Ruby Ridge, in Northern Idaho.