Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Rebecca Makkai  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1978


-- Facebook -- https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaMakkai
-- Twitter -- https://twitter.com/rebeccamakkai
-- Website -- http://rebeccamakkai.com
-- Rebecca Makkai on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=rebecca++makkai


Illinois Connection

Makkai is a Chicago-based author.

Biographical and Professional Information

Rebecca Makkai teaches the MFA program at Lake Forest College and Sierra Nevada College and runs ''StoryStudio Chicago‘s Novel-in-a-Year'' workshop. She holds a MA from Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English and a BA from Washington and Lee University. Her work was chosen to be included ''The Best American Short Stories'' anthology for four consecutive years - 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. It also appears regularly in publications such as ''Harper's'', ''Tin House'', ''Ploughshares'', ''New England Review'' and ''Ecotone'', and on public radio's ''This American Life'' and ''Selected Shorts''. Makkai is the recipient of several fellowships including a 2014 NEA Fellowship.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The Borrower: A Novel
ISBN: 0143120956

Penguin Books. 2012

"Rarely is a first novel as smart and engaging and learned and funny and moving as The Borrower." —Richard Russo, author of Pulitzer Prize–winning Empire Falls

Rebecca Makkai's The Great Believers will be available in summer 2018.

Lucy Hull, a children’s librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both kidnapper and kidnapped when her favorite patron, ten-year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. Ian needs Lucy’s help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother, who has enrolled Ian in weekly antigay classes. Desperate to save him from the Drakes, Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian when she finds him camped out in the library after hours, and the odd pair embarks on a crazy road trip. But is it just Ian who is running away? And should Lucy be trying to save a boy from his own parents?

The Hundred-Year House
ISBN: 052542668X

Viking. 2014

The acclaimed author of The Borrower returns with a dazzlingly original, mordantly witty novel about the secrets of an old-money family and their turn-of-the-century estate, Laurelfield.

“Rebecca Makkai is a writer to watch, as sneakily ambitious as she is unpretentious."
Richard Russo

Meet the Devohrs: Zee, a Marxist literary scholar who detests her parents’ wealth but nevertheless finds herself living in their carriage house Gracie, her mother, who claims she can tell your lot in life by looking at your teeth and Bruce, her step-father, stockpiling supplies for the Y2K apocalypse and perpetually late for his tee time. Then there’s Violet Devohr, Zee’s great-grandmother, who they say took her own life somewhere in the vast house, and whose massive oil portrait still hangs in the dining room.

Violet’s portrait was known to terrify the artists who resided at the house from the 1920s to the 1950s, when it served as the Laurelfield Arts Colony—and this is exactly the period Zee’s husband, Doug, is interested in. An out-of-work academic whose only hope of a future position is securing a book deal, Doug is stalled on his biography of the poet Edwin Parfitt, once in residence at the colony. All he needs to get the book back on track—besides some motivation and self-esteem—is access to the colony records, rotting away in the attic for decades. But when Doug begins to poke around where he shouldn’t, he finds Gracie guards the files with a strange ferocity, raising questions about what she might be hiding. The secrets of the hundred-year house would turn everything Doug and Zee think they know about her family on its head—that is, if they were to ever uncover them.

In this brilliantly conceived, ambitious, and deeply rewarding novel, Rebecca Makkai unfolds a generational saga in reverse, leading the reader back in time on a literary scavenger hunt as we seek to uncover the truth about these strange people and this mysterious house. With intelligence and humor, a daring narrative approach, and a lovingly satirical voice, Rebecca Makkai has crafted an unforgettable novel about family, fate and the incredible surprises life can offer.

For readers of Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle

Music for Wartime: Stories
ISBN: 0525426698

Viking. 2015

Named a must-read by the Chicago Tribune, O Magazine, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and The L Magazine

Rebecca Makkai's The Great Believers will be available in summer 2018.


Rebecca Makkai’s first two novels, The Borrower and The Hundred-Year House, have established her as one of the freshest and most imaginative voices in fiction. Now, the award-winning writer, whose stories have appeared in four consecutive editions of The Best American Short Stories, returns with a highly anticipated collection bearing her signature mix of intelligence, wit, and heart.

A reality show producer manipulates two contestants into falling in love, even as her own relationship falls apart. Just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a young boy has a revelation about his father’s past when a renowned Romanian violinist plays a concert in their home. When the prized elephant of a traveling circus keels over dead, the small-town minister tasked with burying its remains comes to question his own faith. In an unnamed country, a composer records the folk songs of two women from a village on the brink of destruction.

These transporting, deeply moving stories—some inspired by her own family history—amply demonstrate Makkai’s extraordinary range as a storyteller, and confirm her as a master of the short story form.

“Richly imagined.”
Chicago Tribune

“Impressive.”
O, The Oprah Magazine

“Engrossing.”
Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Inventive.”
W Magazine

The Great Believers
ISBN: 0735223521

Viking. 2018

SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

“A page turner...An absorbing and emotionally riveting story about what it’s like to live during times of crisis. "—The New York Times Book Review


A dazzling new novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and loss set in 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris, by the acclaimed author Rebecca Makkai

In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup, bringing in an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings as a gift to the gallery. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDS epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico's funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, Nico's little sister.

Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago crisis, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways AIDS affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. The two intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of the eighties and the chaos of the modern world, as both Yale and Fiona struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster.


Awards

''The Borrower''

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

Agent

Nicole Aragi - queries@aragi.net

Publicists

Holly Watson - holly.watson@us.penguingroup.com Angela Messina - angela.messina@us.penguingroup.com