Moshfegh at the 2015 Texas Book Festival.
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Ottessa Moshfegh (born 1981) is an American author and novelist. Her debut novel, Eileen, won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and was a fiction finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Early life and education
Moshfegh was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1981. Her mother was born in Croatia and her father, who is Jewish, was born in Iran. Her parents were both musicians and taught at the New England Conservatory of Music. As a child, Moshfegh learned to play piano and clarinet.
She received her BA from Barnard College in 2002.
After college, Moshfegh moved to China, where she taught English and worked in a punk bar.
In her mid-twenties, Moshfegh moved to New York City. She worked for Overlook Press, and then as an assistant for Jean Stein. After contracting cat-scratch fever, she left the city and earned an MFA from Brown University.
Fence Books published her novella, McGlue, in 2014.
Her novel Eileen was published by Penguin Press in August 2015, and received positive reviews. The book was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. In this book Eileen, the main character and narrator of the story, describes a series of events that occurred years ago, when she was young and living in a Massachusetts town that she refers to only as "X-ville." At the beginning of the novel we find her working as a secretary at a local juvenile prison while living with and caring for her abusive father, a retired police officer suffering from alcoholism and paranoia. As the story continues we learn more and more about a dramatic situation that causes her to leave her life in X-ville.
Moshfegh published her second novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, on July 10, 2018 by Penguin Press. The book describes a young woman in New York City in 2000 and 2001. Recently graduated from college and ambivalently mourning the recent deaths of both her parents, she undertakes to sleep for a year with the assistance of sleeping pills and other medications prescribed by a disreputable psychiatrist.
Moshfegh is engaged to the writer Luke Goebel, whom she met during an interview.
Awards and honors
- 2013–15 Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University
- 2013 Plimpton Prize for Fiction from The Paris Review for her story "Bettering Myself"
- 2014 Fence Modern Prize in Prose (judged by Rivka Galchen), inaugural winner for McGlue
- 2014 Believer Book Award winner for McGlue
- 2016 MacDowell Colony Fellowship
- 2016 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for Eileen
- 2016 Man Booker Prize (shortlist) for Eileen
- 2018 The Story Prize finalist for Homesick for Another World
- McGlue (2014)
- "Medicine", Vice, December 1, 2007
- "Disgust", The Paris Review, No. 202, Fall 2012
- "Bettering Myself", The Paris Review, No. 204 Spring 2013
- "Malibu", Vice, July 3, 2013
- "The Weirdos", The Paris Review, No. 206, Fall 2013
- "A Dark and Winding Road", The Paris Review, No. 207, Winter 2013
- "No Place for Good People", The Paris Review, No. 209, Summer 2014
- "Slumming", The Paris Review, No. 211, Winter 2014
- "Nothing Ever Happens Here", Granta, Issue 131, Spring 2015
- "The Surrogate", Vice, June 5, 2015
- "Dancing in the Moonlight", The Paris Review, No. 214 Fall 2015
- "The Beach Boy", The New Yorker, January 4, 2016
- "The Locked Room", The Baffler, Spring 2016
- "An Honest Woman", The New Yorker, October 24, 2016
- "Love Stories", Vice, December 5, 2016
- "Brom", Granta, Issue 139, 2017
- "The Pornographers", Vice, March 26, 2017
- "Anything to Make You Happy", Lucky Peach, May 2015
- "How to Shit", The Masters Review, October 2015
- "Coyotes, the Ultimate American Tricksters", The New Yorker, July 2016
- Novak, Joanna (November 3, 2014). "Ottessa Moshfegh Is the Next Big Thing, and Here Are 7 Reasons Why". Bustle. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
- Levy, Ariel. "Ottessa Moshfegh's Otherworldly Fiction". The New Yorker. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
- Moshfegh, Ottessa (February 28, 2016). "Ottessa Moshfegh: I didn't set out to write Eileen as a noir novel". The Guardian (Interview). Interviewed by Kate Kellaway. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
- Ottessa Moshfegh's Otherworldly Fiction, The New Yorker, July 2018
- "Character Finds A Path Out of Her Personal Prison In 'Eileen'". NPR. August 15, 2015. Retrieved August 15, 2015.
- "Eileen: A Novel". Penguin Press.
- King, Lily (August 14, 2015). "'Eileen,' by Ottessa Moshfegh". The New York Times. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
- Paul Laity, "Ottessa Moshfegh interview: ‘Eileen started out as a joke – also I’m broke, also I want to be famous’", The Guardian, September 16, 2016.
- Sarah Shaffi (September 19, 2014). "Two from Moshfegh for Cape". The Bookseller.
- "Jailbait". Granta Magazine. August 9, 2018. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
- Stein, Lorin (October 28, 2014). "Ottessa Moshfegh". BOMB Magazine. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
- Phillips, Kaitlin (July 19, 2018). "Ottessa Moshfegh Plays to Win". The Cut. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
- "Stegner Fellowship – Complete List of Stegner Fellows " Stanford Creative Writing Program". stanford.edu.
- "The Fence Modern Prize in Prose". Past winners. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
- "The Believer Book Award". The Believer. November 2015. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
- Mark Shanahan (March 16, 2016). "Newton's Ottessa Moshfegh wins 2016 PEN/Hemingway Award". Boston Globe. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
- Treisman, Deborah (December 28, 2015). "This Week in Fiction: Ottessa Moshfegh on the Repressed Western Consciousness". The New Yorker.
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