Joy Williams is an essayist and fiction writer. Her first novel, State of Grace, was nominated for a National Book Award, and her recent novel The Quick and the Dead was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her essay collection Ill Nature: Rants and Reflections on Humanity and Other Animals was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. Williams is perhaps best known, however, for her short story collections such as Taking Care, Escapes, Honored Guest, and 99 Stories of God. Her stories and essays—which often contain elements of the gothic and grotesque—are frequently anthologized. Williams was elected as a member of the Academy of Arts and Letters in 2008.