Finalist for National Book Award

The Great Believers was shortlisted for the National Book Award, something I’m still enormously grateful for. Many thanks to the National Book Foundation, the judges, and everyone who helped me figure out my dress.

Posted in News on October 5 2018

Three Starred Reviews for The Great Believers

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.”


Posted in News on June 14 2018

Story in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2016

My story “The Miracle Years of Little Fork,” which appeared originally in Ploughshares, has been selected for The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2016. The anthology, which will appear in October, benefits the 826 literacy organizations.

Posted in News on August 20 2016

Personal essay for New Yorker

My essay “The Power and Limitations of Victim-Impact Statements” was at this summer. Read it here.

Posted in News on August 20 2016

Study with Rebecca

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


Posted in News on August 20 2016

2017 Pushcart Prize

My story “The George Spelvin Players,” originally published in Pleiades, as been selected for a Pushcart Prize and will appear in the 2017 anthology, out later this fall.

Posted in News on August 20 2016

MFW a finalist for Society of Midland Authors Award

Music for Wartime was selected as a finalist in the fiction category for the Society of Midland Authors award. The SMA mercifully announces the winner ahead of time rather than making us find out at the ceremony, and this year’s prize is going to a very deserving Joe Meno for Marvel and a Wonder; the other finalist was Bonnie Jo Campell’s Mothers, Tell Your Daughters (a collection I can’t recommend highly enough). The banquet is May 10th; tickets and more info here.

Posted in News on April 18 2016

Music for Wartime named one of BookPage’s Top 10 Collections of 2015

BookPage has kindly named Music for Wartime one of the top ten short story collections of 2015, writing “Makkai’ s novels… have established her as one of the most talented literary voices today… Now the acclaimed writer returns with Music for Wartime, an anticipated collection of short stories, several of which were inspired by the lives of her paternal grandparents.” Read the full list here!

Posted in News on December 4 2015

One City, One Book Lake Forest

The Hundred-Year House has been chosen as the Ragdale Reads Lake Forest book for fall, 2015. The citywide reading program includes several public events, including a tea at the legendary Ragdale artists’ colony (10:30 am, Thursday, October 15) and a reading and conversation (6 pm, Wednesday, October 21st, Lily Holt Reid Memorial Chapel, Lake Forest College). More details to come; information here.

Posted in News on May 12 2015

Interviews about The Hundred-Year House at The Rumpus and The Millions

I’ve recently done interviews at both The Rumpus and The Millions about The Hundred-Year House, Olympian gods, galley slaves, and what’s next. Click through to read!

Posted in Interviews, Media, News on January 3 2015· Tagged: , , , ,

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