Michelle Huneven (born August 14, 1953) is a Californian novelist and journalist. Huneven was born and raised in a Jewish family in Altadena, California, where she returned to live in 2001. She received an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa and attended the Methodist Claremont School of Theology.
Huneven’s novels explore related themes of recovery and maturation. Her first novel, Round Rock (Knopf 1997), follows a graduate student’s reluctant path to sobriety at a drunk farm in rural California. Jamesland (Knopf 2003) is set in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, where three struggling souls: a Unitarian minister, a descendant of William James and an erstwhile chef, help each other learn to get by. Both novels were designated "Notable Books of the Year" by the New York Times.
Her third novel Blame (2009) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Award. It portrays the journey of a young history professor after accidentally killing two people while driving drunk. Her fourth novel, Off Course, was published in April 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Huneven's short fiction has been published in Harper's, Redbook, and literary magazines. She received a Whiting Award in 2002.
Food writing and other nonfiction
Huneven has worked as a restaurant critic and food writer for the LA Weekly and the LA Times. Her food journalism has also been published in the New York Times, O, Gourmet, Food and Wine, and other publications. She won the 1995 award for Newspaper Feature Writing from the James Beard Foundation and several American Food Journalists awards.
Huneven co-authored the Tao Gals’ Guide to Real Estate (Bloomsbury 2006), a combination narrative and guidebook for women purchasing homes. Her essays have appeared in the following anthologies: Horse People, Dog is My Co-Pilot, The Knitter's Gift, Death by Pad Thai, and Mr. Wrong.
- Penelope Green, “Our Equity, Ourselves”, New York Times, January 26, 2006
- Bernadette Murphy, “Life’s answers: Is religion in the mix?”, Los Angeles Times, September 21, 2003
- "Michelle Huneven", Random House Website
- "Interview: Michelle Huneven", The LAist, 7 Mar 2005