Susan Straight

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Susan Straight
Susan straight 2010.jpg
Straight in 2010
Born (1960-10-19) October 19, 1960 (age 55)
Riverside, California, U.S.
Occupation Writer

Susan Straight (born October 19, 1960) is an American writer. She was a National Book Award finalist for the novel Highwire Moon in 2001.


Susan Straight has published six novels, a novel for young readers and a children's book. She has also written essays and articles for numerous national publications, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Nation and Harper's Magazine, and is a frequent contributor to NPR and Her story "Mines," first published in Zoetrope All Story, was included in Best American Short Stories 2003.

Personal life[edit]

Straight lives in Riverside, California. She has three daughters: Gaila (b. 1989), Delphine (b. 1991), and Rosette (b. 1995). Her oldest daughter graduated from Oberlin College. Her second daughter graduated from the University of Southern California. Her youngest daughter is now attending the University of Southern California.

Academic career[edit]

Straight attended John W. North High School in Riverside, California and took classes at Riverside Community College while in high school. She went on to earn a scholarship to the University of Southern California and, in 1984, earned her M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst's MFA Program for Poets & Writers. She co-founded the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing & Writing for the Performing Arts program at University of California, Riverside, where she is currently a Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing and the director of the graduate program.

Awards and honors[edit]



  • Straight, Susan (1991). Aquaboogie : a novel in stories. Minneapolis, Minn.: Milkweed Editions. 
  • I Been in Sorrow's Kitchen and Licked Out All the Pots (1993)
  • Blacker Than a Thousand Midnights (1995)
  • The Gettin' Place (1997)
  • Highwire Moon (2001) – finalist for the National Book Award
  • A Million Nightingales (2006)
  • Take One Candle Light a Room (2010)
  • Between Heaven and Here (2012)

Short fiction[edit]

Title Year First published Reprinted/collected
Tulsa, 1921 ???? ???? Golden, Marita; Shreve, Susan Richards, eds. (1995). Skin deep : Black women & White women write about race. New York: Nan A. Talese. 
  • The Best American Short Stories 2003 (short story, "Mines") (2003)
  • The Cocaine Chronicles (short story, "Poinciana") (2005)
  • Los Angeles Noir (story, "The Golden Gopher") (2007)[2]
  • The O. Henry Prize Stories 2007 (short story, "El Ojo de Agua") (2007)

Essays, reporting and other contributions[edit]

  • Race: An Anthology in the First Person (essay, "Letter to My Daughters") (1997)
  • Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood (essay, "One Drip at a Time") (1999)
  • When Race Becomes Real: Black and White Writers Confront Their Personal Histories (essay, "Country Music") (2002)
  • Life As We Know It: A Collection of Personal Essays from (essay, "Love Me, Love My Guns") (2003)
  • Dog Is My Co-Pilot: Great Writers on the World's Oldest Friendship (essay, "Brave and Noble Is the Preschool Dog") (2003)
  • Some of My Best Friends: Writers on Interracial Friendships (essay, "Cartilage") (2004)
  • Little Women (afterword) (2004)
  • Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race, and Themselves (essay, "The Belly Unbuttoned") (2005)
  • I Married My Mother-in-law And Other Tales of In-laws We Can't Live With - And Can't Live Without (essay, "A Family You Can't Divorce") (2006)
  • Inlandia: A Literary Journey Through California's Inland Empire (introduction) (2006)
  • Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave (essay, "Reckless") (July 2007)
  • The Show I'll Never Forget: 50 Writers Relive Their Most Memorable Concertgoing Experience (essay, "The Funk Festival at Los Angeles Coliseum, Los Angeles, May 26, 1979") (2007)
  • Straight, Susan (Mar–Apr 2013). "November 24, 1963 : what my brother left behind". The Believer 11 (3): 25–28. Retrieved 2015-10-16. 

For younger readers[edit]

  • Bear E. Bear, (1995)
  • The Friskative Dog, (2007)


External links[edit]