Alan Cheuse

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Alan Cheuse
Alan cheuse 2007.jpg
Alan Cheuse in 2007.
Born (1940-01-23)January 23, 1940
Perth Amboy, New Jersey,
United States
Died July 31, 2015(2015-07-31) (aged 75)
San Jose, California,
United States
Occupation novelist, columnist, short story writer, essayist, professor
Nationality American
Education Rutgers University

Alan Stuart Cheuse (January 23, 1940 – July 31, 2015) was an American writer and critic.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, Cheuse grew up in a Jewish family, the son of a Russian immigrant father and a mother of Russian and Romanian descent.[1] He graduated from Perth Amboy High School in 1957 and Rutgers University in 1961. After traveling abroad and working for several years at writing and editing jobs, he returned to Rutgers to study for a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, which he was awarded in 1974. He wrote a thesis on the life and work of the Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier.[citation needed] He taught literature at Bennington College for nearly a decade and then took posts at Sewanee: The University of the South, the University of Virginia, and the University of Michigan before joining the faculty at George Mason University in the M.F.A. program, teaching fiction. For over 25 years, he taught summers at the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and also served on its Board of Directors.[citation needed]

In the late 1970s he began publishing short fiction, beginning with a story in The New Yorker, followed with articles for Ploughshares,[2] The Antioch Review, Prairie Schooner, and New Letters. He published his first novel, a biographical historical work about John Reed and Louise Bryant in 1982. Other works of fiction and nonfiction followed.

He was a regular book reviewer for the NPR radio program All Things Considered. In 1999, he also helped to found Fall for the Book, a nonprofit literary festival.

Cheuse was involved in a serious car crash on July 14, 2015 on California State Route 17 while driving from Olympic Valley to Santa Cruz, California. He was reported to be in a coma on July 20, 2015 with injuries including fractured ribs, cervical vertebrae, and an acute subdural hematoma.[3] He died on July 31, 2015 from his injuries at the age of 75.[4]

Alan Cheuse's papers reside at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia.


  • Candace and Other Stories. Cambridge, Mass.: Apple-wood Press, 1980. ISBN 9780918222190 (short story collection)
  • The Bohemians: John Reed & His Friends Who Shook the World. Cambridge, Mass.: Apple-wood Books, 1982. ISBN 9780918222329 (novel)
  • The Grandmothers' Club. Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith Books, 1986. ISBN 9780918222671 (novel)
  • Fall Out of Heaven. Salt Lake City: G. M. Smith, 1987. ISBN 9780879052737 (memoir)
  • The Light Possessed. Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith Books. 1990. ISBN 9780879053635.  (novel)
  • The Tennessee Waltz and Other Stories. Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith Books, 1990. ISBN 9780879053666 (short story collection)
  • Lost and Old Rivers: Stories. Dallas, Tex.: Southern Methodist University Press, 1998. ISBN 9780870744327 (short story collection)
  • Listening to the Page: Adventures in Reading and Writing. New York: Columbia University Press. 2001. ISBN 9780231122702.  (essays)
  • The Fires. Santa Fe, N.M.: Santa Fe Writers Project. 2007. ISBN 9780977679911.  (novellas)
  • To Catch the Lightning. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks, Inc. 2008. ISBN 9781402271953.  (novel)
  • A Trance After Breakfast. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks, Inc. 2009. ISBN 9781402215162.  (travel essays, 2009)
  • Song of Slaves in the Desert. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks, Inc. 2011. ISBN 9781402242991.  (novel)
  • Paradise, Or, Eat Your Face. Chicago: Santa Fe Writers Project, 2012. ISBN 9780981966175 (novellas)
  • An Authentic Captain Marvel Ring & Other Stories. Santa Fe Writers Project, 2014. ISBN 9781939650092 (short stories)
  • Prayers for the Living. London: Fig Tree Books, 2015.

Edited works[edit]

  • With Lisa Alvarez et al. Writing Workshop in a Book: The Squaw Valley Community of Writers on the Art of Fiction. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2007.
  • Seeing Ourselves: Great Early American Short Stories. 2007.
  • With Nicholas Delbanco. Literature: Craft & Voice, Vols. 1–3. 2nd ed. McGraw-Hill, 2012.


  1. ^ Neila C. Seshachari, "The light on Alan Cheuse: A Dialogue.", Weber Studies, Fall 1990.
  2. ^ "Read By Author". Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  3. ^ Carolyn Kellogg, "NPR book reviewer Alan Cheuse in a coma after car accident in California", Los Angeles Times, 20 July 2015.
  4. ^ Colin Dwyer, "Alan Cheuse, Novelist And Longtime NPR Contributor, Dies At 75", NPR News, 31 July 2015.

External links[edit]