Ron Rash, the distinguished American poet, short story writer, and novelist, was born on William Faulkner’s birthday, September 25, in 1953 in Chester, SC . Rash, the final round judge of the Short Story category of the 2013 William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, is author of Serena, the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Finalist and New York Times bestselling novel, which has been adapted for a feature film starring Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Lawrence to be released this winter. His new book, released in 2013, is a collection of short fiction, Nothing Gold Can Stay, which the New York Times has declared is his best book since Serena. Rash also has written four other collections of stories, among them Burning Night, which won the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. In addition to Serena, Rash is author of four other prizewinning novels—One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, The World Made Straight, and The Cove, and three collections of poems. Twice the recipient of the O.Henry Prize, he teaches at Western Carolina University where he holds the John Parris Chair in Appalachian Studies and teaches a graduate class in fiction.