Rivka Galchen

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Rivka Galchen
Galchen speaking at the 2009 Brooklyn Book Festival.
Galchen speaking at the 2009 Brooklyn Book Festival.
Born (1976-04-19) April 19, 1976 (age 43)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
NationalityCanadian, American
Notable worksAtmospheric Disturbances (2008)
Notable awardsWilliam J. Saroyan International Prize for Fiction

Rivka Galchen (born April 19, 1976) is a Canadian-American writer. Her first novel, Atmospheric Disturbances, was published in 2008 and was awarded the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing.

Early life[edit]

Galchen was born in Toronto, Ontario. When she was an infant, her parents relocated to the United States, where she has lived ever since.[1] From 1981 to 1994 she lived in Norman, Oklahoma, where her father, Tzvi Gal-Chen, was a professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma and her mother was a computer programmer at the National Severe Storms Laboratory.[2][3]

In 1994, Galchen began attending Princeton University, where she was an English major. In her sophomore year, she applied to an early-admissions program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.[2] She received her M.D. from Mount Sinai in 2003, with a focus in psychiatry.[4] After medical school, she received an MFA from Columbia University, where she was a Robert Bingham fellow.[5] She was a 2006 recipient of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award for women writers.[4]

In early 2011, Galchen served as the Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fiction Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.[6]


Galchen has written for several national magazines, including The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, and The Believer.

Her first novel, Atmospheric Disturbances, features a character with her father's name, Tzvi Gal-Chen. The character is a professor of meteorology and a fellow of the fictional Royal Academy of Meteorology.[7] The novel was published in May 2008.[5] The novel was a finalist for the Mercantile Library's 2008 John Sargent, Sr., First Novel Prize, the Canadian Writers' Trust's 2008 Fiction Prize,[8][9] and the 2008 Governor General's Award.[10]

Galchen teaches writing at Columbia University[11] and is a contributing editor at Harper's Magazine.

In 2010 Galchen was chosen by The New Yorker as one of its "20 Under 40".[12]

Galchen's short-story collection, American Innovations, was published in 2014.[13][14][15][16][17] The collection was longlisted for the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize and awarded the Danuta Gleed Literary Award.




  • Galchen, Rivka (2008). Atmospheric disturbances. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Short Story Collections[edit]

  • Galchen, Rivka (2014). American Innovations: Stories. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


  • Galchen, Rivka (2016). Little Labours. New York: New Directions.

List of short stories[edit]

Title Year First published Reprinted/collected Notes
The region of unlikeness 2008 Galchen, Rivka (March 24, 2008). "The region of unlikeness". The New Yorker.
Wild berry blue 2008 Galchen, Rivka. "Wild berry blue". Open City. 25. Dave Eggers, ed. (2009). The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009. New York: Mariner.
Once an empire 2010 Galchen, Rivka (Feb 2010). "Once an empire". Harper's.
The lost order 2013 Galchen, Rivka (January 7, 2013). "The lost order". The New Yorker.
How Can I Help? 2016 Galchen, Rivka (September 19, 2016). "How Can I help?". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on October 29, 2016. Retrieved October 29, 2016.

Essays and reporting[edit]


  1. ^ "Heartbreak and loss lie beneath fantastic tale". The Calgary Herald. Archived from the original on 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2008-10-18.
  2. ^ a b "Rivka Galchen, M.D. from Oklahoma Is the Latest Successor to Pynchon". The New York Observer. Archived from the original on 2013-01-30. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  3. ^ http://www.observer.com/2008/rivka-galchen-m-d-oklahome-latest-successor-pynchon?page=2. Retrieved May 17, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  4. ^ a b "The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Awards 2006". Archived from the original on 2008-06-05. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  5. ^ a b "Macmillan: Atmospheric Disturbances". Macmillan Publishers. Archived from the original on 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  6. ^ "Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fiction Fellow, Class of Spring 2011". American Academy in Berlin. Archived from the original on January 24, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  7. ^ "She's Not Herself: A first novel about marriage and madness". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  8. ^ "2008 John Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize Finalists". The Mercantile Library for Fiction. Archived from the original on 2008-05-31. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  9. ^ "2008 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize Finalists". The Writers' Trust. Archived from the original on December 27, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  10. ^ "Rivka Galchen". Columbia University. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  11. ^ "Not Exactly By The Book: rivka galchen reveals her convoluted route to authorship". The Columbia Spectator. Archived from the original on December 1, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  12. ^ "Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie". The New Yorker. 2010-06-07. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  13. ^ Kelly, Hillary (2014-05-06). ""American Innovations" by Rivka Galchen Reviewed". New Republic. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  14. ^ Langer, Adam (May 7, 2014). "Short Stories That Riff Playfully on Some Enduring Forebears". The New York Times.
  15. ^ Kirsch, Adam (May 8, 2014). "Rivka Galchen Is Not Your Mommy". Tablet.
  16. ^ Gartner, Zsuzsi (May 16, 2014). "American Innovations: Canadian-born Rivka Galchen hits it out of the park again and again". The Globe and Mail.
  17. ^ Cheuse, Alan (May 14, 2014). "Everyday Life Is a Rich Mine Of Absurdity In 'American Innovations'". NPR.

External links[edit]



Author page[edit]