Jump to content

Karen Russell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Karen Russell
Karen Russell at the 2011 Texas Book Festival
Karen Russell at the 2011 Texas Book Festival
Born (1981-07-10) July 10, 1981 (age 43)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
EducationNorthwestern University (BA)
Columbia University (MFA)
Notable awardsMacArthur fellowship, 5 under 35 honoree

Karen Russell (born July 10, 1981) is an American novelist and short story writer. Her debut novel, Swamplandia!, was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. In 2009 the National Book Foundation named Russell a 5 under 35 honoree. She was also the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" in 2013.

Early life


After graduating from Coral Gables Senior High School in Miami, Florida in 1999, Russell received a BA in Spanish from Northwestern University in 2003. She graduated from the MFA program at Columbia University in 2006. A Miami native, as of 2019 she resides in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, editor Tony Perez, and two children.[1][2] Her brother, Kent Russell, is also a writer.

Career and awards


Russell's stories have been featured in The Best American Short Stories, Conjunctions, Granta, The New Yorker, Oxford American, and Zoetrope.[3]

She was named a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" young writer honoree at the November 2009 ceremony[4] for her first short story collection, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, for which Russell won the Bard Fiction Prize in 2011.[5]

Russell's second book and first novel, Swamplandia!, about a family of alligator wrestlers and their shabby amusement park in the Everglades, was long-listed for the 2011 Orange Prize.[6] The novel was also included in The New York Times' "10 Best Books of 2011"[7] and won the New York Public Library's 2012 Young Lions Fiction Award.[8] Swamplandia! was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction; however, none of the three finalists received enough votes, and no prize was awarded.[9]

Russell's second collection of short stories, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, was published by Vintage Contemporaries in February 2013. Her third short story collection, Orange World and Other Stories, was released in May 2019.

Her short story "The Hox River Window," published in Zoetrope: All-Story, won the 2012 National Magazine Award for fiction.[10] She is the recipient of the Mary Ellen von der Heyden Berlin Prize and was awarded a fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin for Spring 2012.[11] "Reeling for the Empire" won the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novelette of 2012. In 2013, Russell received a MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant."[12]

In 2010 Russell spent time as a visiting writer at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.[13] She later served as an artist in residence at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY.[14] In Fall 2013, Russell was a distinguished guest teacher of creative writing in the MFA program at Rutgers University-Camden.[15]

Russell has been the Endowed Chair in Creative Writing at Texas State University’s MFA program since 2017.[16]




  • Swamplandia!. Knopf. 2011.

Short fiction

  • St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. Knopf. 2006.
  • Vampires in the lemon grove : stories. Knopf. 2013.
  • Orange World and other stories. Knopf. 2019.
Title Year First published Reprinted/collected
A family restaurant 2011 Russell, Karen (Fall 2011). "A family restaurant". Conjunctions. 57. Russell, Karen (2013). "A family restaurant". In Henderson, Bill (ed.). The Pushcart Prize XXXVII : best of the small presses 2013. Pushcart Press. pp. 183–206.
Sleep donation : a novella 2014 Sleep donation : a novella. Atavist Books. 2014.
The Bog Girl 2016 Russell, Karen (June 20, 2016). "The Bog Girl". The New Yorker. Vol. 92, no. 18. pp. 60–69.



See also



  1. ^ "Karen Russell | Penguin Random House". PenguinRandomhouse.com. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  2. ^ @TonyDPerez (8 April 2019). "My dear, dear wife, Karen Russell, has a new collection coming out next month. Given, I may have recency or spousal…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  3. ^ "Karen Russell". August 2004. Retrieved 2006-11-24.
  4. ^ "The National Book Foundation's '5 Under 35' Fiction Selections For 2009".
  5. ^ "Karen Russell, 2011 Recipient" Archived 2012-02-07 at the Wayback Machine, Bard Fiction Prize.
  6. ^ "ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION ANNOUNCES 2011 LONGLIST". Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  7. ^ "The 10 Best Books of 2011"
  8. ^ "Finalists Chosen for The New York Public Library’s 2012 Young Lions Fiction Award", New York Public Library, March 8, 2012.
  9. ^ Flood, Alison (2012-04-17). "Pulitzers 2012: prize for fiction withheld for first time in 35 years". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  10. ^ National Magazine Award Archived 2018-10-10 at the Wayback Machine, American Society of Magazine Editors.
  11. ^ "The American Academy Announces the 2011-2012 Class of Fellows" Archived 2011-09-20 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Karen Russell". Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  13. ^ Writers' Workshop Archived 2010-01-11 at the Wayback Machine, The University of Iowa.
  14. ^ "MacArthur Fellowships Awarded to Yaddo Guests". Archived from the original on 22 April 2019. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  15. ^ "Pulitzer Prize Nominee to Serve as Guest Teacher for Rutgers-Camden MFA Program", Rutgers Today, January 9, 2013.
  16. ^ "Endowed Chair". 25 February 2020.
  17. ^ Title in the online table of contents is "Can video games help stroke victims?".

Short stories