Rebecca Makkai's novel "The Great Believers" was named to the NY Times 10 Best Books of 2018
Rebecca Makkai's new novel, The Great Believers, was just named to the NY Times 10 Best Books of 2018.

Writers in the Woods Authors Make News

Writers in the Woods brings exciting authors to campus from all over the country for intimate readings and workshops. The monthly events give both students and the general public opportunities to meet accomplished writers in a relaxed, personal environment.

Rebecca Makkai

Writers in the Woods, Fall 2016

Rebecca Makkai’s new novel, The Great Believers, was just named to the NY Times 10 Best Books of 2018.

“Set in the Chicago of the mid-80s and Paris at the time of the 2015 terrorist attacks, Makkai’s deeply affecting novel uses the AIDS epidemic and a mother’s search for her estranged daughter to explore the effects of senseless loss and our efforts to overcome it. Her portrait of a group of friends, most of them gay men, conveys the terrors and tragedies of the epidemic’s early years and follows its repercussions over decades. Empathetic without being sentimental, her novel amply earned its place among the contenders for the Booker Prize and the National Book Award.” —The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2018

Makkai is on the faculty of SNC’s MFA in Creative Writing program. She is the Chicago-based author of the novels The Hundred-Year House and The Borrower, as well as The Great Believers, and the short story collection Music for Wartime. Her short fiction won a 2017 Pushcart Prize, and was chosen for The Best American Short Stories for four consecutive years (2008-2011).

Praise for The Great Believers
“Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers is a page turner… among the first novels to chronicle the AIDS epidemic from its initial outbreak to the present—among the first to convey the terrors and tragedies of the epidemic’s early years as well as its course and repercussions…An absorbing and emotionally riveting story about what it’s like to live during times of crisis.” —Michael Cunningham in The New York Times Book Review

“Makkai knits themes of loss, betrayal, friendship and survival into a powerful story of people struggling to keep their humanity in dire circumstances.” —People Magazine

“Symphonic… The Great Believers soars… magnificent… Makkai has full command of her multi-generational perspective, and by its end, The Great Believers offers a grand fusion of the past and the present, the public and the personal. It’s remarkably alive despite all the loss it encompasses. And it’s right on target in addressing how the things that the world throws us feel gratuitously out of step with the lives we think we’re leading.” —The Chicago Tribune

“Busily Dickensian, her prose a relentless engine mowing back and forth across decades… missing no chance to remind us what’s at stake… Warmly dimensional… Compulsively readable.” —The San Francisco Chronicle

“To believe in something is to have faith, and Makkai dispenses it fiercely, in defiance of understandable nihilism and despair—faith in what’s right, in the good in others, in better outcomes, in time’s ability not to heal but to make something new.” —National Book Review

“A striking, emotional journey… 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.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Luis Alberto Urrea

Writers in the Woods, Fall 2015 and Fall 2016

Luis Alberto Urrea’s novel The House of Broken Angels was named one of the NY Times 100 Notable Books of 2018.

“In Urrea’s sprawling, tender, funny and bighearted family saga — a Mexican-American novel that is also an American novel — the de La Cruz clan gathers in San Diego to celebrate the 70th birthday of its patriarch, who is dying of cancer.” —The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2018

Urrea is the author of 17 books. His novels include Into the Beautiful North, an immensely popular community read choice, and The Hummingbird’s Daughter, named a best book of the year by many publications. The Devil’s Highway, Urrea’s 2004 non-fiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

June Sylvester Saraceno

Writers in the Woods, Founder and Fairy Godmother

June Sylvester Saraceno’s poem “The Ordinary Day Begins” is included in the anthology All We Know of Pleasure, women’s writing about sex. Her literary company in the anthology includes Sharon Olds, Anne Sexton, Dorianne Laux, Denise Levertov, Adrienne Rich, Lucille Clifton, Erica Jong, Audre Lorde, and Louise Glück.

All We Know of Pleasure: Poetic Erotica by Women is a breathtaking, eros driven, somatic poetic love letter to women’s bodies. So many of the poets who changed my life and writing live inside this book, and isn’t that the truth of it, that poets give our desires and ecstasies back to us? I read it with my whole body, dripping with delight.” ―Lidia Yuknavitch, author of “The Book of Joan” and “The Chronology of Water”

June is the founder of Writers in the Woods, chair of the English department at SNC Tahoe, and the author of the books of poetry Of Dirt and Tar and Altars Of Ordinary Light. She will be reading at an event for the anthology at the spring 2019 Associated Writing Programs conference in Portland, OR.

photo of author Claire Vaye Watkins

Claire Vaye Watkins

Writers in the Woods, Fall 2018

Claire Vaye Watkins’ longform article on Dennis Hof was recently published by the New Yorker. Hof was the (in)famous owner of several Nevada brothels, including the location of HBO’s “Cathouse,” and a posthumous Nevada State Assembly candidate. (Two days after the article was published he won the seat, despite his death on October 16th.)

Watkins is the author of the novel Gold Fame Citrus and the award-winning short story collection Battleborn. She grew up in Pahrump, Hof’s stomping grounds, and drove by two of his brothels every day on the school bus.

“A beautiful debut novel. . .Watkins’ vision is profoundly terrifying. It’s a novel that’s effective precisely because it’s so realistic — while Watkins’ image of the future is undeniably dire, there’s nothing about it that sounds implausible. . .One might think there are only a few ways to portray a landscape that has become, essentially, nothing, but Watkins writes with a brutal kind of beauty, and even in the book’s darkest moments, it’s impossible to turn away.” —The Los Angeles Times on Gold Fame Citrus