Norman Rush

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Norman Rush
Norman Rush (2015).png
Norman Rush in 2015
Born (1933-10-24) October 24, 1933 (age 89)
Notable workWhites (1986)
Mating (1991)

Norman Rush (born October 24, 1933) is an American writer most of whose introspective novels and short stories are set in Botswana in the 1980s.[1] He won the U.S. National Book Award[2] and the 1992 Irish Times/Aer Lingus International Fiction Prize for his novel Mating.

Life and career[edit]

Rush at home in New City, New York, in 1986

Rush was born in San Francisco and raised in Oakland, the son of Roger and Leslie (Chesse) Rush. He graduated from Swarthmore College in 1956.[3] During the Korean War he was sentenced to two years incarceration for his status as a conscientious objector to the war, but was released on parole after nine months. After working for fifteen years as a book dealer, he changed careers to become a teacher and found he had more time to write. He submitted a short story about his teaching experiences to The New Yorker, which was published in 1978.

Rush and his wife Elsa were co-directors of the Peace Corps in Botswana from 1978 to 1983, which provided material for his short story collection Whites (1986). Whites was a finalist for the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.[4] His Botswana experience also served as the setting for his novels Mating (1991) and Mortals (2003).

Rush lives with his wife, Elsa, in Rockland County, New York, in a farmhouse which they have shared since 1961 located on High Tor Mountain.[5][6]

Rush's third novel, Subtle Bodies, was published in September 2013.[7][8]

Published works[edit]

  • Whites, short stories Alfred A. Knopf, 1986, ISBN 978-0-394-54471-7 — finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction[4]
  • Mating, Knopf, 1991, ISBN 978-0-394-54472-4 — winner of the National Book Award for Fiction[2]
  • Mortals, a novel Knopf, 2003, ISBN 978-0-679-40622-8.
  • Subtle Bodies, a novel, Knopf, 2013, ISBN 978-1-4000-4250-0.


  1. ^ "Norman Rush". Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  2. ^ a b "National Book Awards – 1991". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
    (With essays by Lee Taylor Gaffigan and Jim Shepard from the Awards 60-year anniversary blog.)
  3. ^ [1] Archived July 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b "Whites, by Norman Rush (Alfred A. Knopf)". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  5. ^ Pashman, Joshua (Fall 2010). "Norman Rush, The Art of Fiction No. 205". The Paris Review. No. 194. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  6. ^ Mason, Wyatt (August 29, 2013). "Norman Rush's Brilliantly Broken Promise". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  7. ^ Kakutani, Michiko (September 16, 2013). "Gazing Into Their Past Through Their Bellybuttons". The New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  8. ^ Toal, Drew (September 13, 2013). "Death And The Aging Hipster: A Tale Of Intolerable Men". NPR. Retrieved April 10, 2021.

External links[edit]