Brook Wilensky-Lanford  is a PhD candidate in Religion in the Americas at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where she has taught since 2015. Her dissertation, “ ‘Keep the Pearly Gates Ajar For Me’ “ traces the literary history and racial politics of the “accessible heaven” between the Civil War and World War I. Brook received her B.A. from Wesleyan University in Theater and Religion, and an M.F.A. in Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University, where she won a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship funded by the National Endowment of the Arts.  She is the author of the narrative history Paradise Lust: Searching for the Garden of Eden (Grove Press, 2011), and former editor-in-chief of the online literary magazine Killing the Buddha. Her essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, the New Yorker books blog, The GuardianThe New Republic and elsewhere.  She has taught college- and graduate-level religious studies, creative writing, and composition at UNC-Chapel Hill, Baruch College, CUNY; Parsons, The New School for Design; and the University of California Berkeley Extension.