Hal Crowther is a critic and essayist, and a former syndicated columnist and news-magazine editor at Time and Newsweek. His most recent collection of essays, Gather at the River, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle prize in criticism. His syndicated columns won the Baltimore Sun's H. L. Mencken Writing Award in 1992. He is also the author of Unarmed But Dangerous and Cathedrals of Kudzu: A Personal Landscape of the South, winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award for commentary and the Fellowship Prize from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. He lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, with his wife, the novelist Lee Smith.