Meghan O'Rourke

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Meghan O'Rourke
Meghan orourke 2011.jpg
Meghan O'Rourke at the 2011 Texas Book Festival.
Born1976 (age 45–46)
Alma materYale University
Warren Wilson College

Meghan O'Rourke (born 1976 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American nonfiction writer, poet and critic.

Background and education[edit]

O'Rourke was born January 26, 1976 in Brooklyn, New York.[1] The eldest of three children born to Paul and Barbara O’Rourke, she had two younger brothers. Her mother was a longtime teacher and administrator at Saint Ann’s, an elite independent school in Brooklyn, and later became headmaster of the Pierrepoint School in Westport, Connecticut. Her father, a classicist and Egyptologist, also taught at Saint Ann’s and Pierrepont. O’Rourke attended St. Ann’s through high school. She earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in English language and literature from Yale University in 1997 and a master of fine arts degree in poetry from Warren Wilson College in 2005.[1]



Immediately after graduating from Yale, O'Rourke began an internship as an editor at The New Yorker.[1] She was promoted to fiction/nonfiction editor in 2000, becoming one of the youngest-ever editors at the publication.[1] During this time, she also freelanced as a contributing editor of the literary quarterly Grand Street.[1] In 2002 O’Rourke moved to Slate, an online magazine that covers news, culture, and politics. She served as culture and literary editor there from late 2002 to mid-2009 and was a founding editor of DoubleX, a section on Slate that focused on women’s issues.[1] She also continued to moonlight with other publications; from 2005 to 2010 she was a poetry coeditor of the Paris Review.[2] She is also an occasional contributor to The New York Times. O'Rourke has written on a wide range of topics, including horse racing, gender bias in the literary world, the politics of marriage and divorce, and the place of grief and mourning in modern society. She has published poems in literary journals and magazines including The New Yorker, Best American Poetry, The New Republic, and Poetry,[3][2] along with Perrine's Literatures Twelfth Edition.

Her first book of poems, Halflife, was published by Norton in 2007. O'Rourke's book, The Long Goodbye, a memoir of grief and mourning written after the death of her mother, was published to wide critical acclaim in April 2011. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. O'Rourke suffers from an autoimmune disorder which she has written about for The New Yorker.[4] Her latest book, The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness, was released in March 2022.[5] She has been treated for Lyme disease.[6]

On July 1, 2019, O'Rourke became editor of The Yale Review, coinciding with the 200th anniversary of its founding.[7]

Awards and fellowships[edit]



  • O'Rourke, Meghan (2007). Halflife : poems. New York: W. W. Norton.
  • Once: Poems (New York: W. W. Norton, 2011).
  • Sun In Days (New York: W. W. Norton, 2017).
List of poems
Title Year First published Reprinted/collected
Navesink 2017 O'Rourke, Meghan (March 13, 2017). "Navesink". The New Yorker. Vol. 93, no. 4. p. 55.
My Life as a Subject 2008 O'Rourke, Meghan (June 2008). "My Life as a Subject". Poetry. 192: 200-4.
On Marriage 2008 O'Rourke, Meghan (June 2008). "On Marriage". Poetry. 192: 205.
Halflife 2005 O'Rourke, Meghan (September 2005). "Halflife". Poetry. 187: 411.
Sleep 2005 O'Rourke, Meghan (September 2005). "Sleep". Poetry. 187: 410.


  • The Long Goodbye, memoir (New York: Riverhead, 2011).


  • ed. A World Out of Reach: Dispatches from Life Under Lockdown (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020)


  1. ^ a b c d e f Lightner, Barb (2019). Literary Biographies. Great Neck Publishing. pp. 1–3.
  2. ^ a b "Meghan O'Rourke Biography". Retrieved 2015-01-27.
  3. ^ "Poems Out Loud > Meghan O'Rourke Reads Spectacular". Archived from the original on 2017-09-10. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
  4. ^ "What's Wrong with Me? I had an autoimmune disease. Then the disease had me". Retrieved 2015-01-25.
  5. ^ O'Rourke, Meghan (2022-03-01). The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness. Penguin. ISBN 978-0-698-19076-4.
  6. ^ "The Mysteries of Chronic Illness". Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. 2015-04-07. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
  7. ^ "Introducing the New Editor of The Yale Review: Meghan O'Rourke". Literary Hub. 2018-12-06. Retrieved 2018-12-06.
  8. ^ "Meghan O'Rourke". Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  9. ^ "Meghan O'Rourke". Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  10. ^ American Academy of Arts & Sciences. "Recipients of the Poetry Prize in Honor of May Sarton". Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  11. ^ John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. "Meghan O'Rourke". Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  12. ^ Whiting Foundation. "2017 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grantee: Meghan O'Rourke". Retrieved 24 January 2018.


  • Contemporary Authors Online. The Gale Group, 2006.

Further reading[edit]

  • Brouwer, Joel (April 29, 2007). "Fields of memory". The New York Times. Review of Halflife.

External links[edit]