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Lorrie Moore

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Lorrie Moore
BornMarie Lorena Moore
(1957-01-13) January 13, 1957 (age 67)
Glens Falls, New York, U.S.
OccupationShort-story writer, novelist
EducationSt. Lawrence University
Cornell University (MFA)
Notable worksWho Will Run the Frog Hospital? (1994)

Birds of America (1998)
A Gate at the Stairs (2009)

Bark (2014)
Notable awardsAmerican Academy of Arts and Letters, 2006

Lorrie Moore (born Marie Lorena Moore; January 13, 1957) is an American writer, critic, and essayist. She is best known for her short stories, some of which have won major awards. Since 1984, she has also taught creative writing.


Marie Lorena Moore was born in Glens Falls, New York, and nicknamed "Lorrie" by her parents. She attended St. Lawrence University. At 19, she won Seventeen magazine's fiction contest.[1] The story, "Raspberries," was published in January 1977. After graduating from St. Lawrence, she moved to Manhattan and worked as a paralegal for two years.

In 1980, Moore enrolled in Cornell University's M.F.A. program, where she was taught by Alison Lurie.[2] Upon graduation from Cornell, Moore was encouraged by a teacher to contact literary agent Melanie Jackson, who agreed to take her as a client. In 1983, Jackson sold Moore's collection Self-Help, almost entirely stories from her master's thesis, to Knopf.[2]


Short stories[edit]

Her short story collections are Self-Help (1985), Like Life, the New York Times bestseller Birds of America, and Bark. She has contributed to The Paris Review. Her first story to appear in The New Yorker, "You're Ugly, Too," was later included in The Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike. Another story, "People Like That Are the Only People Here," also published in The New Yorker, was reprinted in the 1998 edition of the annual collection The Best American Short Stories; the tale of a young child falling sick, the piece was loosely patterned on events in Moore's own life. The story was also included in the 2005 anthology Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules, edited by David Sedaris.

Moore's Collected Stories was published by Faber in the UK in May 2008. It included all the stories in each of her previously published collections, excerpts from her novel Anagrams, and three previously uncollected stories first published in The New Yorker.

Moore's latest collection, Bark, was published in 2014.[3] It became a finalist of The Story Prize[4] and was short-listed by Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award.[5][6]


Moore's novels are Anagrams (1986), Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? (1994), and A Gate at the Stairs (2009). Anagrams, with its experimental form, received a rather cold critical response.[7] Who Will Run the Frog Hospital is the story of a woman vacationing with her husband who recalls an intense friendship from her adolescence. A Gate at the Stairs takes place just after the September 11 attack and is about a 20-year-old Midwestern woman's coming of age.

Of Moore's 2023 novel I Am Homeless if This Is Not My Home, The New Yorker's Parul Sehgal wrote: "One might say of Lorrie Moore what she said of Updike—that she is our greatest writer without a great novel—but how tinny ‘greatness’ can feel when caught in the inhabiting, staining, possessing power of a work of such determined strangeness and pain. An almost violent kind of achievement: a writer knifing forward, slicing open a new terrain—slicing open conventional notions and obligations of narrative itself."[8]

Children's books[edit]

Moore has written a children's book entitled The Forgotten Helper, about an elf whom Santa Claus mistakenly leaves behind at the home of the worst child on his "good" list. The elf must help the child be good for the coming year so Santa will return next Christmas.


Moore writes occasionally about books, films, and television for The New York Review of Books.[9] A collection of her essays, criticism and comment was published by Knopf as See What Can Be Done in April 2018.[10][11]

Academic career[edit]

Moore was the Delmore Schwartz Professor in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she taught creative writing for 30 years. She joined the faculty in 1984[12] and left to join the faculty at Vanderbilt University in the fall of 2013, where she is now the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English.[13][14]

She has also taught at Cornell University, as the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence at Baruch College, and at the MFA in Creative Writing program at the University of Michigan, as well as at Princeton and NYU.[15][16][17]


Short stories[edit]

  • 1985 – Self-Help; ISBN 0-446-67192-4
  • 1990 – Like Life; ISBN 0-375-71916-4
  • 1998 – Birds of America; ISBN 0-312-24122-4
  • 2008 – The Collected Stories; ISBN 978-0-571-23934-4
  • 2014 – Bark; ISBN 0-307-59413-0
  • 2020 – Collected Stories; ISBN 978-0-375-71238-8


Children's books[edit]


Awards and recognition[edit]

Moore won the 1998 O. Henry Award for her short story "People Like That Are the Only People Here," published in The New Yorker on January 27, 1997.[citation needed]

In 1999, Moore was named as the winner of the Irish Times International Fiction Prize for Birds of America.[21]

In 2004, she was selected as winner of the Rea Award for the Short Story, for outstanding achievement in that genre.[citation needed] She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2006, and is a fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters.[22] In 2008, she delivered Oxford University's annual Esmond Harmsworth Lecture in American Arts and Letters at the university's Rothermere American Institute.

Her 2009 novel, A Gate at the Stairs, was a finalist for the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and for the Orange Prize for Fiction.[23]

Bark was shortlisted for the 2014 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award[24] and was a finalist for The Story Prize.[25]

Her novel I Am Homeless if This Is Not My Home was the winner of the 2023 National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction.[26]


  1. ^ Kelly, Alison (2009). Understanding Lorrie Moore. Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-57003-823-5. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Kelly, p. 2.
  3. ^ "Book review: Lorrie Moore's 'Bark' looks at bitter disappointments of relationships". Washington Post. February 24, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  4. ^ "2014/15 Winner & Finalists". The Story Prize. Retrieved December 30, 2022.
  5. ^ Heller McAlpin (February 24, 2014). "Book review: Lorrie Moore's 'Bark' looks at bitter disappointments of relationships". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 30, 2022.
  6. ^ Alison Flood (June 13, 2014). "Frank O'Connor prize shortlist pits 'masters' against first-timers". The Guardian. Retrieved December 30, 2022.
  7. ^ Elizabeth Gaffney (2001). "Lorrie Moore, The Art of Fiction No. 167". The Paris Review. Retrieved December 30, 2022.
  8. ^ Sehgal, Parul (June 12, 2023). "Lorrie Moore's Death-Defying New Novel". The New Yorker. Retrieved June 15, 2023.
  9. ^ "Contributors: Lorrie Moore". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  10. ^ "Book Marks reviews of See What Can Be Done by Lorrie Moore". bookmarks.reviews. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  11. ^ Brockers, E. (May 5, 2018). "Lorrie Moore on political correctness, writing and why she's not worried by Trump". The Guardian. Retrieved December 30, 2022.
  12. ^ Vidich, Paul. "Lorrie Moore: An Interview", Narrative Magazine, June 2009. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  13. ^ Charles McGrath,, "Lorrie Moore’s New Book Is a Reminder and a Departure", The New York Times, February 17, 2014. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
  14. ^ "ProfessorGertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English". Vanderbilt. Retrieved December 30, 2022.
  15. ^ Crawford, Franklin. "Author Lorrie Moore returns to accept CU alumni artist award", Cornell Chronicle, December 9, 2004. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  16. ^ Kelly, p. 166.
  17. ^ "Recent Visitors to the MFA Program" Archived July 20, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, University of Michigan. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  18. ^ "Biblioracle on Lorrie Moore's 'I Am Homeless if This Is Not My Home'". Chicago Tribune. July 8, 2023. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  19. ^ Garner, Dwight (June 12, 2023). "In Love, on the Road and Undead". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  20. ^ Sehgal, Parul (June 12, 2023). "Lorrie Moore's Death-Defying New Novel". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  21. ^ "The Irish Times Literature Prizes. Archived November 28, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters. Wisconsin Academy Fellows : Lorrie Moore Archived July 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, accessed October 2, 2010.
  23. ^ Marjorie Kehe, "Three "beautiful" Orange Prize finalists," Christian Science Monitor, June 10, 2010, accessed October 2, 2010.
  24. ^ Alison Flood (June 13, 2014). "Frank O'Connor prize shortlist pits 'masters' against first-timers". The Guardian. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  25. ^ "TSP". January 12, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  26. ^ "The National Book Critics Circle Awards". Archived from the original on April 6, 2024.

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