David Means

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David Means
Means speaking in New York, 2013
Means speaking in New York, 2013

David Means (born October 17, 1961) [1] is an American short story writer and novelist based in Nyack, New York. His stories have appeared in many publications, including Esquire, The New Yorker, and Harper's. They are frequently set in the Midwest or the Rust Belt, or along the Hudson River in New York.


Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Means graduated from Loy Norrix High School in 1980.[2] He received his bachelor's degree in 1984 from the College of Wooster, where his I.S. was "Bullfighting in Boston and other Poems".[3] He went to graduate school at Columbia University, where he received an MFA in poetry.[4] He has been a part-time member of the English department at Vassar College since 2001. Means is married with two children.[2]


Contemporary Authors writes: "With Means's second collection, Assorted Fire Events: Stories, he was compared favorably to such esteemed writers as Raymond Carver and Alice Munro and praised by critics for his sharp prose." [5] James Wood, in The London Review of Books notes that "Means' language offers an exquisitely precise and sensuous register of an often crazy American reality. Sentences gleaming with lustre are sewn through the stories. One will go a long way with a writer possessed of such skill. You can hear the influence of Flannery O'Connor in Means' prose: in the scintillating shiver of the beautiful imagery, in the lack of sentimentality, in the interest in grotesque violence, and gothic tricksterism." Eileen Battersby in The Irish Times has compared Means' work to that of Eudora Welty and John Cheever.[6]

His first novel is Hystopia.[7] It was long listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2016.


Means with Karl Greenfeld, 2013.


  • Hystopia (2016) ISBN 978-0865479135

Short fiction[edit]

Title Year First published Reprinted/collected Notes
The knocking 2010 Means, David (March 15, 2010). "The knocking". The New Yorker. 86 (4): 64–67. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |1= (help)
Two ruminations on a homeless brother 2017 Means, David (May 1, 2017). "Two ruminations on a homeless brother". The New Yorker (11): 56–59. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |1= (help)
Two Nurses, Smoking 2020 Means, David (June 1, 2020). "Two Nurses, Smoking". The New Yorker. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |1= (help) Published online May 25, 2020
  • "Stories I Used to Write," The Paris Review, No. 137, Winter 1995
  • "Disclaimer," The Paris Review, No. 143, Summer 1997
  • "Elective Mute," Esquire, February 2007
  • "Wait for Walk," Abitare (Italy), May, 2008
  • "Tree Line, Kansas," The New Yorker, October 25, 2010
  • "The Butler's Lament," Zoetrope, Spring 2011
  • "El Morro," The New Yorker, August 29, 2011
  • "The Chair," The Paris Review, No. 200, Spring 2012
  • "Farewell, My Brother," Zoetrope, Fall 2012
  • Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, "Found" Texts, and Other Fraudulent Artifacts, edited by David Shields and Matthew Vollmer, W. W. Norton, 2012



  1. ^ "Assorted fire events : stories". Library of Congress. Archived from the original on December 13, 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Michael Chevy, Castranova (August 8, 2010). "David Means explores stories of 'victims': Former Kalamazoo writer seeks a darker perspective". The Kalamazoo Gazette. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
  3. ^ "I.S. Database". College of Wooster. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
  4. ^ "David Means Makes It Work". Powell's Books. October 10, 2006. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
  5. ^ Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2007. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale. 2007. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC
  6. ^ "Oct. 6 WSUI Reading Features Short Story Writer David Means". University News Service. University of Iowa. September 22, 2004. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
  7. ^ "War Is Hell: PW Talks with David Means". PublishersWeekly.com.
  8. ^ Short stories unless otherwise noted.
  9. ^ "2000 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Winners". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on July 4, 2011. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
  10. ^ "All Past National Book Critics Circle Award Winners and Finalists - Page 2". National Book Critics Circle. Archived from the original on February 23, 2018. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
  11. ^ "The O. Henry Prize Stories 2006". Random House. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
  12. ^ Crown, Sarah (September 26, 2005). "Inaugural short story award goes to debut author". The Guardian. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
  13. ^ "The O. Henry Prize Stories 2011". The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories. Anchor Books. Retrieved July 22, 2011.

External links[edit]