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Skibell is the author of three novels, which use elements of history and fantasy:
Skibell was born in Lubbock, Texas. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 1981, he took a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Texas Center of Writers (now the Michener Center for Writers) in 1996.
He was the Jay C. and Ruth Hall Fellow in Fiction at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing at University of Wisconsin in Madison during the academic year of 1996-97. In 2002, he received a National Endowment for the Arts grant.
Skibell has taught at the University of Wisconsin, the Humber School for Writers, the Taos Summer Writers Conference, and Bar-Ilan University. He is currently an associate professor of English in the Creative Writing program at Emory University.
Prizes and recognition
His work has been translated into a half-dozen languages, and he has won the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Steven Turner Prize for First Fiction and the Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Book of Fiction from Texas Institute of Letters.
His essays and short fiction have appeared in Story, Tikkun, The New York Times, Poets & Writers, Maggid, and other periodicals, as well as in the anthologies Nothing Makes You Free: Writing from the Second Generation On, edited by Melvin Bukiet; Rules of Thumb: 73 Authors Reveal Their Fiction Writing Fixations, edited by Michael A. Martone and Susan Neville; and Letters to J. D. Salinger, edited by Chris Kubica.
- "Joseph Skibell" by Sanford Pinsker. In Holocaust Literature: An Encyclopedia of Writers and Their Work, vol 2, edited by S. Lilian Kremer.