Rebecca Makkai’s 2020 Literary Christmahanukwanzivus Gift Guide

Since indie bookstores need us to order our holiday gifts NOW, and since books are easy to wrap and store and ship, here’s my attempt at a 2020 Literary Christmas/Hannukah/Kwaanza/Festivus gift guide!

To find a local bookstore near you, or your giftee, check out Indiebound!

While most indie bookstores will wrap books for you, BookBub, has some excellent ideas for book wrapping yourself!

Due to my judging duties this year, I am not recommending any new American fiction, but I know you can find that on your own! 

Now, to the suggestions!

Continue reading ?

Posted in Media, News on October 12 2020

They Were Warriors | Chicago Magazine

Click here to read “They Were Warriors”

I’m so thrilled to share this, finally. I compiled an oral history for Chicago Magazine of the 1990 ACT UP demonstration that’s a pivotal scene in The Great Believers. This month marks its 30th anniversary, and I had no idea as I worked on it how much more relevant these stories of health care battles would be by the time the article appeared.

This was the major project of my winter, and I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of anything I’ve published. That’s largely because very few of these words are my own; I’m deeply indebted to Owen Keehnen, Lori F. Cannon, William McMillan, Steve Migalski, Roberto Sanabria, Justin Hayford, Mary Patten, Jeff Edwards, Jeanne Kracher, and Saundra Johnson for their words and time and memories, as well of course as their ongoing activism. Writing this was an education in so many ways.

I hope you’ll read this (it’s empowering, I do promise) and share their words widely. Today is World Health Day; let’s keep fighting, in honor of the past and the future.


Posted in Essays, Media, News on April 7 2020

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: , , , ,

“My Book, the Movie” for THYH

The actual film world is brutal and unpredictable. But the imaginary film world is a marvelous place where I get to bring Grace Kelly back to life. You can read about my vision for THYH as a movie here — and, in a related project, you can judge for yourself whether the book passes the Page 69 Test.

Posted in Essays on July 19 2014

Essay on Cheever and Mad Men for Salon

Click here to read my essay for Salon about John Cheever and Mad Men!

Posted in Essays on May 31 2014· Tagged: , ,

Essay in Tin House

tin house memoryMy essay on George R. Stewart’s Ordeal by Hunger, a 1936 account of the Donner Party, is available now in Tin House #59 and online. The entire issue, focused on the theme of memory, is fabulous and worth devouring and available at indie bookstores worth their salt, and orderable from the Tin House website.

Posted in Essays on March 5 2014· Tagged: , , , ,

New story in Harper’s; related interview at The Nervous Breakdown

Harpers-1307-302x410I have a new story (a memoir/short story hybrid) called “Other Types of Poison” in the July issue of Harper’s Magazine. (Part is available online, though most is behind a pay wall.) The story is complicated — not just in the telling, but in the creation as well — and I break some of it down, nervously, on The Nervous Breakdown in an interview with Davis Schneiderman. The interview includes more historical detail about my grandparents (the subjects of the story), as well as photographs of both of them, and of me as a chubby baby and scrawny kid.

Posted in Essays, Interviews, News on June 18 2013· Tagged: , , , , , ,

Podcast (and excerpt from the new novel) on All Write Already!

allwritealreadylogoIn early May, I spoke to Karen Shimmin and Willy Nast of All Write Already! about the new novel, dismemberment, The Borrower, and nine-year-olds with scissors. After the intro, you can hear me read a chapter of the new book (about which I’ll have news on this site in a few days)…

Posted in Interviews, Media on May 22 2013· Tagged: , , , ,

Blogging for Ploughshares

ploughsharesThis year, I’ll be blogging regularly (18 posts total) for the fabulous Ploughshares blog. (And there are new posts from others every day — about poetry, fiction, literary boroughs, and more.) You can view all my posts by clicking here.

Posted in Essays on February 9 2013· Tagged: , , ,

An ancient interview with the late Isaiah Sheffer

Isaiah Sheffer interviewed me over three years ago for the radio broadcast of my story “The Briefcase” on Selected Shorts. It was my first real interview as a writer, and I don’t think I fully understood at the time how lucky I was to be on the receiving end of questions that were so deeply insightful and patient. When he passed away in November, I realized I’d never linked to this here. The broadcast of the story itself, being read at Symphony Space by the amazing Victor Garber, is available as an MP3 download here.

Posted in Interviews, Media, News on January 25 2013· Tagged:

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