April 10, 2014
Karen Russell is a fiction writer whose haunting yet comic tales blend fantastical elements with psychological realism and classic themes of transformation and redemption. Setting much of her work in the Everglades of her native Florida, she depicts in lyrical, energetic prose an enchanting and forbidding landscape and delves into subcultures rarely encountered in contemporary American literature. She has written two collections of short stories, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (2006), Vampires in the Lemon Grove (2013) and a novel, Swamplandia! (2011).
She received a B.A. (2003) from Northwestern University and an M.F.A. (2006) from Columbia University. Her short stories have appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, Granta, Zoetrope, and Oxford American. She was a fellow at the Cullman Center (2010) and at the American Academy of Berlin (2012), and she has taught writing and literature at Columbia University (2006–2009), Williams College (2009), Bard College (2011), Bryn Mawr College (2012), and the University of Rutgers, Camden (2013).
She was recently awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship (also know as the “genius grant.”) The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted $625,000 fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.