The Great Believers has won two awards from the American Library Association: The Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and the Stonewall Barbara Gittings Literature Award. I’ll be at the ALA conference in late June to accept both awards, with boundless gratitude.
The Great Believers has received starred reviews in…
Publishers Weekly: “A striking, emotional journey through the 1980s AIDS crisis and its residual effects on the contemporary lives of survivors… Makkai creates a powerful, unforgettable meditation, not on death, but rather on the power and gift of life. This novel will undoubtedly touch the hearts and minds of readers.”
Booklist: “As her intimately portrayed characters wrestle with painful pasts and fight to love one another and find joy in the present in spite of what is to come, Makkai carefully reconstructs 1980s Chicago, WWI-era and present-day Paris, and scenes of the early days of the AIDS epidemic. A tribute to the enduring forces of love and art, over everything.”
Kirkus: “Another ambitious change of pace for the versatile and accomplished Makkai (The Hundred-Year House, 2014, etc.), whose characters wrangle with the devastating impact of the AIDS epidemic at its height and in its aftermath… Her rich portraits of an array of big personalities and her affecting depiction of random, horrific death faced with varying degrees of gallantry make this tender, keening novel an impressive act of imaginative empathy. As compulsively readable as it is thoughtful and moving: an unbeatable fictional combination.”
I teach in the low-residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College (on Lae Tahoe! it’s beautiful!); I teach in Northwestern University’s MFA program (the one in the School of Professional Studies — there are two programs, it’s super confusing); and I teach StoryStudio Chicago’s “Novel in a Year” workshop. Applications for the latter are typically open early each summer.
I also love talking about craft with library groups and other groups of writers. These and other visits can be arranged by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.