Rachel Kushner

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Rachel Kushner
Kushner in 2015
Kushner in 2015
Born1968 (age 51–52)
Eugene, Oregon, USA
OccupationNovelist, Essayist
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley (B.A.)
Columbia University (MFA)
Notable works
SpouseJason Smith

Rachel Kushner (born 1968) is an American writer, known for her novels Telex from Cuba (2008), The Flamethrowers (2013), and The Mars Room (2018). She lives in Los Angeles.[1]

Early life[edit]

Kushner was born in Eugene, Oregon, the daughter of two scientists whom she has described as "deeply unconventional people from the beatnik generation."[1][2] Her mother arranged after-school work for her straightening and alphabetizing books at a feminist bookstore when she was 5 years old, and Kushner says "it was instilled in me that I was going to be a writer of some kind from a young age."[1][3] Kushner moved with her family to San Francisco in 1979.[4]

When she was 16, she began her Bachelor's in Political Economy at UC Berkeley with an emphasis on US foreign policy in Latin America.[3][5] Kushner lived as an exchange student in Italy when she was eighteen; upon completing her Bachelor of Arts, she lived in San Francisco, worked at nightclubs, and rode a Moto Guzzi.[3] At 26, she enrolled in the fiction program at Columbia University and she earned her MFA in creative writing in 2000.[6] One of her influences is the American novelist Don DeLillo.[7]



Kushner's first novel, Telex from Cuba, was published by Scribner in July 2008. She got the idea for her novel after completing her MFA in 2000, and she made three long trips to Cuba over the six years it took her to write the book.[3][8] Telex from Cuba was the cover review of the July 6, 2008 issue of The New York Times Book Review, where it was described as a "multi-layered and absorbing" novel whose "sharp observations about human nature and colonialist bias provide a deep understanding of the revolution's causes." Telex from Cuba was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award.[9][10] Kushner's editor is Nan Graham.[11]

Kushner's second novel, The Flamethrowers, was published by Scribner in April 2013. Vanity Fair hailed it for its "blazing prose," which "ignites the 70s New York art scene and Italian underground."[citation needed] In The New Yorker, critic James Wood praised the book as "scintillatingly alive. It ripples with stories, anecdotes, set-piece monologues, crafty egotistical tall tales, and hapless adventures: Kushner is never not telling a story... It succeeds because it is so full of vibrantly different stories and histories, all of them particular, all of them brilliantly alive."[12] The Flamethrowers was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award.[13] "The Flamethrowers" was named a top book of 2013 by[14] New York Magazine, Time Magazine, The New Yorker, O, The Oprah Magazine, New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Vogue, Wall Street Journal, Salon, Slate, Daily Beast, Flavorwire, The Millions, The Jewish Daily Forward, and Austin American-Statesman.

Kushner's third novel, The Mars Room, was published in May 2018.[15] In September 2018 it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.[16]


After completing her MFA, Kushner lived in New York City for eight years, where she was an editor at Grand Street and BOMB. She has written widely on contemporary art, including numerous features in Artforum.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Kushner lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband Jason Smith and their son Remy.[18]

Awards and honors[edit]



  1. ^ a b c de Rosee, Sophie. "Author Rachel Kushner talks to Sophie de Rosee about childhood, marriage and Don DeLillo". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  2. ^ Miller, M.H. "Revolution Blues: Rachel Kushner's New Novel Examines Rebellion, Both Real and Staged". observer.com. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Kunzru, Hari. "BOMB—Artists in Conversation: Rachel Kushner". bombmagazine.org. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Telex from Cuba (Kushner) - Author Bio". litlovers.com. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Rachel Kushner". ndbooks.com. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Kushner, Rachel". id.loc.gov. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  7. ^ Ulin, David L. "Rachel Kushner lights a fire in 'The Flamethrowers'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  8. ^ Timberg, Scott. "Breathing literary life into '50s Cuba". latimes.com. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  9. ^ a b "National Book Awards - 2008". National Book Foundation. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  10. ^ Cokal, Susan (July 6, 2008). "Livin' La Vida Local". The New York Times.
  11. ^ "Board of Directors". centerforfiction.org. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  12. ^ James Wood, "Youth in Revolt," The New Yorker, April 8, 2013.
  13. ^ a b National Book Awards - 2013. National Book Foundation. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  14. ^ "Rachel Kushner News".
  15. ^ Kushner, Rachel (2018-05-01). The Mars Room. ISBN 9781476756554.
  16. ^ "The Man Booker Prize for Fiction Names Its 2018 Shortlist". publishingperspectives. 2018-09-20. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  17. ^ Author Page on Simon & Schuster website
  18. ^ Rachel Kushner: ‘Having children complements the making of art’ The Guardian
  19. ^ Dave McNary, "Rachel Kushner Set as Telluride Film Fest Guest Director", Variety, March 31, 2015.
  20. ^ "The 2014 Folio Prize Shortlist is Announced". Folio Prize. 10 February 2014. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  21. ^ Gaby Wood (10 February 2014). "Folio Prize 2013: The Americans are coming, but not the ones we were expecting". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  22. ^ "Kalamazoo College Graduation".
  23. ^ "Guggenheim Fellow Rachel Kushner".
  24. ^ Short stories unless otherwise noted.

External links[edit]