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Rebecca Makkai is a Chicago-based writer whose second novel, The Hundred-Year House, will be available from Viking/Penguin in summer, 2014. Her first novel, The Borrower, is a Booklist Top Ten Debut, an Indie Next pick, an O Magazine selection, and one of Chicago Magazine's choices for best fiction of 2011. Her short fiction has been chosen for The Best American Short Stories for four consecutive years (2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008), and appears regularly in journals like Harper's, Tin House, Ploughshares, and New England Review.

Rebecca Makkai’s first story, at the age of three, was printed on the side of a cardboard box and told from the viewpoint of her stuffed Smurf doll. Sadly, her fiction has never since reached such heights of experimentalism.

Rebecca was born in 1978 and holds an MA from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English and a BA from Washington and Lee University. Her short fiction has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009, New Stories from the Midwest and Best American Fantasy, and featured on Public Radio International’s Selected Shorts and This American Life. New stories and essays appear regularly in places like Harper’s, Tin House, the Wall Street Journal, and New England Review. She has held fellowships at Yaddo, Ragdale, and the Sewanee and Wesleyan Writers Conferences.

Rebecca has two young daughters, a husband, and a serious Mad Men problem. She does not run marathons or do cartwheels, but she does know how to make marshmallows. She was an elementary Montessori teacher for twelve years before stopping to write full time.

Her second novel, The Hundred-Year House, is the story of a haunted house and a haunted family, told in reverse; it will be available from Viking/Penguin in July, 2014. Her story collection, Music for Wartime, will appear sometime in 2015.

She teaches at Lake Forest College and in Sierra Nevada College‘s MFA program, and runs StoryStudio Chicago‘s Novel-in-a-Year workshop.

To pronounce her last name: It’s basically mac-EYE. More like mah-KAH-ee, though. But don’t pronounce the H’s. It kind of rhymes with Hawaii, but not if you’re the kind of person who puts that glottal stop before the I’s. It’s actually not that hard. It’s just hard to explain. Best bet: listen to Rebecca explain it herself.

(Photo credit: Phillipe Matsas, at Opale. Do not use without permission.)

© 2014 Rebecca Makkai