Author Archives: Rebecca Makkai

About Rebecca Makkai

Rebecca Makkai is the author of the novel THE BORROWER (Viking, 2011) and numerous short stories, four of which have been anthologized in THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES series. Her second novel, THE HUNDRED-YEAR HOUSE, will be out in the summer of 2014. 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.

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

Posted in The Writing Life | Tagged , , , | 69 Comments

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

Posted in Ploughshares Bloggers, Publishing | 2 Comments

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.

Posted in Publishing Advice, The Writing Life, Writing Advice | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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

Posted in Classics, Contemporary, Reading, The Writing Life, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One Gift Guide to Rule Them All

It’s getting late, people. And your literary friends expect brilliant Festivus gifts from you. So let’s get cracking! Here’s something for everyone on your list. For the English major: These fake blood page markers and some hipster glasses. (Remember: your … Continue reading

Posted in Reading, The Writing Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear Lois Lowry

I recently realized that the list of all the things I’ve written (a list that, weirdly for a fiction writer, somehow includes song lyrics, listicles, and sestinas), does not include a fan letter. I’ll Facebook message friends with “Hey, loved … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Contemporary, Reading, The Writing Life, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

14 Ways to Tick off a Writer

“I love throwing rocks at tigers in the zoo,” you say, “but now that the weather’s cold, I need an indoor activity.” Look no further. Writers are fun and easy to annoy. Minimum effort, maximum rage. Try these 14 simple … Continue reading

Posted in Readings, The Writing Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 289 Comments

Write As If…

I have a problem with inversion. I’ve never been able to do a cartwheel, a handstand, or a headstand. On my high school swim team, I was consigned to the backstroke because I couldn’t dive off the blocks. (I balk, … Continue reading

Posted in Writing, Writing Advice | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

My First Nemesis

I can only admit this because I believe I’m not alone. I believe that every writer—maybe every creative person, maybe anyone whose life is ruled by ambition, by a calling beyond rationality—has an imaginary nemesis. The person isn’t imaginary, mind … Continue reading

Posted in The Writing Life, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Writers Behaving Badly

I’m at that stage in editing my second novel where I’m confronted with my own bad habits. It’s much like cleaning out your closet only to discover you still own not one but three pairs of those chunky clogs that … Continue reading

Posted in The Writing Life, Writing, Writing Advice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments