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Richard Russo

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Richard Russo
Russo in 2008
Russo in 2008
Born (1949-07-15) July 15, 1949 (age 75)
Johnstown, New York, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Arizona (BA, MFA, PhD)
Notable worksEmpire Falls, Nobody's Fool, Straight Man
Notable awards2002 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
SpouseBarbara Russo

Richard Russo (born July 15, 1949) is an American novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, and teacher. In 2002, he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for his novel Empire Falls.[1] Several of his works have been adapted into television series and movies.

Early life and education[edit]

Russo was born in Johnstown, New York, and raised in nearby Gloversville. He earned a bachelor's degree, a Master of Fine Arts degree, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Arizona, which he attended from 1967 through 1979.[2] The subject of his doctoral dissertation was the works of the early American writer, historian and editor Charles Brockden Brown.[3]


Russo was teaching in the English department at Southern Illinois University Carbondale when his first novel, Mohawk, was published, in 1986. Much of his work is semi-autobiographical, drawing on his life from his upbringing in upstate New York to his time teaching literature at Colby College, where he retired from in 1996 to pursue writing full-time.[4]

His 2001 novel Empire Falls received the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He has written nine other novels, a collection of short stories, and a memoir (Elsewhere). His short story "Horseman" was published in The Best American Short Stories 2007 edited by Stephen King and Heidi Pitlor.

Besides his work as a book author, Russo along with director Robert Benton co-wrote the 1998 film Twilight, starring Paul Newman. He also wrote the screenplay for the 2005 film Ice Harvest and for the 2005 Niall Johnson film Keeping Mum, which starred Rowan Atkinson.


Director Robert Benton adapted Russo's 1993 novel Nobody's Fool as a 1994 film of the same title, starring Paul Newman, which Benton directed. Russo also wrote the teleplay for the HBO adaptation of his 2001 Pultizer Prize winning novel, Empire Falls.

Russo's 1997 novel Straight Man was adapted by Paul Lieberstein and Aaron Zelman into a television show entitled Lucky Hank starring Bob Odenkirk for AMC. The series debuted on March 19, 2023 on AMC.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Russo and his wife, Barbara, live in Portland, Maine,[6][7] and spend winters in Boston.[8] They have two daughters, Kate and Emily.



Short Stories[edit]


  • Elsewhere: A Memoir (Alfred A. Knopf, 2012)
  • The Destiny Thief: Essays on Writing, Writers and Life (Alfred A. Knopf, 2018)
  • Marriage Story, An American Memoir (Scribd, 2021)



  1. ^ "The 2002 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Fiction". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2023-04-26.
  2. ^ Birnbaum, Robert (2001). "Interview: Richard Russo". identity theory. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
  3. ^ Russo, James Richard (1979), The craft of Charles Brockden Brown's fiction, OCLC 6430660
  4. ^ "Richard Russo". New York State Writers Institute, State University of New York. 2002. Archived from the original on 2007-02-19. Retrieved 2007-03-20.
  5. ^ Rice, Lynette (10 January 2023). "'Lucky Hank': AMC Reveals Debut Date For Next Bob Odenkirk Starrer". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved 10 April 2023.
  6. ^ "For Pulitzer Prize-winning Portland author Richard Russo, the story starts at home". Press Herald. 2016-02-21. Retrieved 2018-06-11.
  7. ^ Russo, Richard (2019). Chances Are... (eBook ed.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. A Note About The Author.
  8. ^ Richard Russo Profile

External links[edit]