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 holds an MA from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English and a BA from Washington and Lee University. Her books have been translated into ten languages, and her short fiction has been anthologized in The Pushcart Prize XLI (2017), The Best American Short Stories 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2016 and 2009, New Stories from the Midwest and Best American Fantasy, and featured on Public Radio International’s Selected Shorts and This American Life.
Rebecca has two young daughters. She does not run marathons or do cartwheels, but she does know how to make marshmallows. She was an elementary Montessori teacher for the twelve years before the publication of her first book.
Her first novel, The Borrower, was a Booklist Top Ten Debut, an Indie Next pick, and an O Magazine selection.
Her second novel, The Hundred-Year House, is the story of a haunted house and a haunted family, told in reverse; Library Journal called it “stunning, ambitious, readable and intriguing.” It was chosen as the Chicago Writers Association’s novel of the year, and received raves in The New York Times Book Review and elsewhere.
Her short story collection, Music for Wartime, appeared in July, 2015.
To pronounce her last name: It’s basically mac-IGH. 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 rhymes with acai (the healthy berry), but with a hard K. It’s actually not that hard. It’s just hard to explain. Pretend it’s a Japanese name, even though it’s not, and you’ll probably get it right. Best bet: listen to Rebecca explain it herself.
(Photo credit: Susan Aurinko)