Author Archives: Rebecca Makkai

About Rebecca Makkai

Rebecca Makkai's second novel, THE HUNDRED-YEAR HOUSE, has been called "stunning: ambitious, readable, and intriguing" by Library Journal. She is also the author of THE BORROWER (Viking, 2011) and numerous short stories, four of which have been anthologized in THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES series. She teaches at Lake Forest College, Sierra Nevada College, and StoryStudio Chicago, and is the recipient of a 2014 Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her website is, and she tweets at @rebeccamakkai.

Drunken Acknowledgments, 2 A.M.

A book is a labor of love, and this novel would not have been possible without the help of several people, and several bottles of wine—the last of which I’m enjoying right now. Infinite thanks to my editor, X, who … Continue reading

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An MFA for the Rest of Us

I’m in that small and shrinking group of writers who don’t have MFAs. Which I think makes me uniquely qualified to start my own MFA program. Haven’t most education reformers come from outside the system? My program will, for starters, … Continue reading

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No Shoes, No Shirt, No Fiction: Let’s Get Out of the Restaurant

“I need to tell you something,” he said. He twirled his spaghetti around his fork. She sipped her wine. “What is it?” “Well.” He shoved the tangle of spaghetti in his mouth and chewed. She fiddled with her spoon. Suddenly, … Continue reading

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Writer Nightmares

You give a reading and only one person shows up. It is your ex. You spend five years working on a novel about Marie Antoinette’s wigmaker. The day you finish your final revisions, Margaret Atwood publishes a novel about Marie … Continue reading

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The Things I Haven’t Read

Legend had it that a famous scholar of nineteenth century American literature visited my college to lecture, and someone asked him a question about Melville. He began his answer with “While I’ve never read Moby-Dick…” At this remove, I still question … Continue reading

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Because I Could Not Stop for the Death of the Novel…

There was once a time when we’d all sit around reading essays on how novels are dead. We’d gather in the parlor of an evening—mother, father, daughter, son—the Victrola softly playing in the background, and each read, in our own … Continue reading

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Writers You Want to Punch in the Face(book)

This is the story of Todd Manly-Krauss, the world’s most irritating writer. He’s a good enough guy in real life (holds his liquor, fun at parties, writes a hell of a short story)—but give the guy a social media account, … Continue reading

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Prepare Your Battlements: Six Ways to Survive Reviews

If you’re putting your writing out into the world, you’re going to get reviews. Maybe not in newspapers, or even from the woman on Goodreads who’s determined to start every single review with “I wanted so much to like this … Continue reading

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So Sue Me…

Consider this a public service announcement. In 2010, I was nearly sued by the estate of The Music Man. Over an apostrophe and the letter S. In a literary short story. Bear with me, because this story is about you.

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The Thirsty Games

It’s so cold in Chicago that the temperature isn’t even negative; it has one of those calculus sigmas in front of it, and there’s some kind of logarithm involved. Maybe you’re sitting in the sun on your California balcony, you … Continue reading

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