Rick Hillis was born and raised in Saskatchewan. After receiving his B.Ed. from the University of Saskatchewan, he went on to attend the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop and was a Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford University. His previously published works include the poetry collection The Blue Machines of Night and the short story collection Limbo River, which won the Drue Heinz Literature prize. His work received many accolades in Canada and the United States, appeared in many literary journals and anthologies and was read on CBC Radio. Willis taught at Stanford, UC Hayward, Lewis & Clark, Reed College, DePauw University and the Iowa Summer Writers Festival. He died October 6, 2014.