Christopher Benfey is Mellon Professor of English at Mount Holyoke and has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is the author of four highly regarded books about the American Gilded Age including A Summer of Hummingbirds, which won both the 2009 Christian Gauss Award of Phi Beta Kappa and the Ambassador Book Award. His family memoir, Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2012. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and The New York Times Sunday Book Review. Benfey is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2013, he won the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which is given to a writer whose work merits recognition for the quality of its prose style.