Rebecca Makkai is a Chicago-based writer whose first novel, The Borrower (Viking, June 2011), 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 (2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011), and appears regularly in journals like Tin House, Ploughshares, New England Review and Shenandoah.
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 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. She has held fellowships at Yaddo and the Sewanee Writers Conference.
Favorite writers, dead, living, and immortal, include Nabokov, Stoppard, Marquez, Munro, Bronte (two out of three Brontes, actually), Borges, Amis, Kundera, Rushdie, Flaubert, Dickens, Austen, Russo, Egan, Calvino, Kingsolver, Shirley Jackson, McEwan, Gogol, Wilde, Sedaris, the playwright Sarah Ruhl and the children’s author Lois Lowry.
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. She is currently at work on her second novel, The Happensack, the story of a haunted house and a haunted family, told in reverse.
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.