Christopher Merrill has published four collections of poetry, including Watch Fire, for which he received the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets; many edited volumes and books of translations; and five works of nonfiction, among them, Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars and Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain. His latest prose book, The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War, chronicles his travels in Malaysia, China and Mongolia, and the Middle East, in the wake of the war on terror. His writings have been translated into twenty-five languages; his journalism appears widely; his honors include a knighthood in arts and letters from the French government. He is member of the National Council on the Humanities and the U.S. national Commission for UNESCO. As director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, he has undertaken cultural diplomacy missions in more than thirty countries. He and his wife, violinist Lisa Gowdy-Merrill, live in Iowa City with their two daughters.