Paul Volponi is a New York City-based writer, journalist, and instructor. He taught jailed youths on Rikers Island to read and write from 1992 to 1998. Black and White and Rikers High were both inspired by this incident. Volponi worked as a teacher in a drug-treatment program for teenagers from 1999 to 2005. Rooftop was inspired by his experience.
Rucker Park Setup, Hurricane Song, and Answer are among Volponi's other works. Volponi, an avid street ball player, draws on his more than four decades of court-sense in New York City to write The Final Four.