Rebecca Makkai, whose most recent novel "The Great Believers" is a 2019 Pulitzer finalist, will open the 2019 - 2020 Writers in the Woods.

Pulitzer Finalist Opens Literary Series

Cover of "The Great Believers" by Sierra Nevada College MFA in Creative Writing faculty Rebecca MakkaiRebecca Makkai will be the first author in the 2019 – 2020 Writers in the Woods literary speaker series. Makkai’s most recent work, The Great Believers, was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in fiction. The book was also a finalist for the National Book Award; winner of the ALA Carnegie Medal, the LA Times Book Prize, and the Stonewall Award; and one of the New York Times Ten Best Books of 2018.

Makkai is also the author of the novels The Hundred-Year House and The Borrower, and the short story collection Music for Wartime. She is on the MFA in Creative Writing faculty both here at Sierra Nevada College and at Northwestern University in Chicago, her home.


About The Great Believers
Publisher’s Description

A Novel of Friendship and Redemption in the Face of Tragedy

In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for a Chicago art gallery, is about to pull off a coup, bringing an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDs epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico’s funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, Nico’s little sister.

Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago epidemic, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways the AIDS crisis affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. Yale and Fiona’s intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of 80’s and the chaos of the modern world, as both struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster.

Praise for The Great Believers


Writers in the Woods brings well-known poets and writers from all over the country to the campus for intimate readings and workshops. All events are open to the public, and audience members are welcome to meet and exchange ideas with the guest writers. The readings, on Friday evening from 7 to 9 pm, are free to everybody. Workshops are Saturday mornings from 10 am to noon, with a nominal fee of $50 for community members.

2019 – 2020 Season

Learn more about this season’s authors

Register for a Workshop

September 27 – 28
Rebecca Makkai
The Great Believers

Writer and activist Lacy M Johnson, author of 'The Reckonings'October 18 – 19
Lacy M. Johnson
The Reckonings
Nevada author and desert rat Mike Branch, author of 'How to Cuss in Western'November 1 – 2
Michael Branch
How to Cuss in Western
Headshot of Author Gayle BrandeisFebruary 7 – 8
Gayle Brandeis
Many Restless Concerns: The Victims of Countess Bathory Speak in a Chorus (A Testimony)
June Sylvester Saraceno
Feral, North Carolina, 1965 (a novel), and The Girl from Yesterday (poetry)
March – TBD

Kaveh Akbar, author of 'Calling a Wolf a Wolf'April 10 – 11
Kaveh Akbar
Calling a Wolf a Wolf
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