Elif Batuman

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Elif Batuman
OccupationWriter, novelist, academic

Elif Batuman (born in 1977) is an American author, academic, and journalist.[1] She is the author of a memoir, The Possessed, and a novel, The Idiot, which was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.[2]

Early life[edit]

Elif Batuman was born in New York City to Turkish parents, and grew up in New Jersey. She graduated from Harvard College, and received her doctorate in comparative literature from Stanford University.[3] While in graduate school, Batuman studied the Uzbek language in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Her dissertation, The Windmill and the Giant: Double-Entry Bookkeeping in the Novel,[4] is about the process of social research and solitary construction undertaken by novelists.[1]


In February 2010, Batuman published her first book, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, based on material she previously published in The New Yorker,[5] Harper's Magazine,[6] and n+1,[7][8] which details her experiences as a graduate student. Her writing has been described as "almost helplessly epigrammatical".[3]

Batuman was writer-in-residence at Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey,[9] from 2010 to 2013. She now lives in New York.[10]



  • The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them. Macmillan. 2010. ISBN 978-0-374-53218-5.
  • The Idiot Penguin, 2017. ISBN 978-1-594-20561-3.

Essays, reporting and other contributions[edit]




  1. ^ a b Kirsch, Adam (2010-02-24). "A Comedian in the Academy". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  2. ^ "2018 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Full List". Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  3. ^ a b Garner, Dwight (2010-02-17). "Tolstoy & Co. as Objects of Obsession". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  4. ^ I am a doctor.
  5. ^ New Yorker articles
  6. ^ "Elif Batuman | Harper's Magazine". Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  7. ^ "Batuman/Elif". n+1. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  8. ^ 'The Meaning of Russia', Oxonian Review
  9. ^ "Department of English Language and Comparative Literature - Elif Batuman". Koç University. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  10. ^ Bio of Elif Batuman, New Yorker contributors page.
  11. ^ Online version is titled "How to be a Stoic".
  12. ^ "The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Awards". www.ronajaffefoundation.org. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  13. ^ "Elif Batuman | WHITING AWARDS". www.whiting.org. Retrieved 2017-03-27.

External links[edit]