In two separate interviews Karen Russell talks about her first book of short stories, St.
Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, and her first novel, Swamplandia! Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, are both set in a sort of enchanted, Lewis Carroll-like version of North America.
Karen Russell, a native of Miami, won the 2012 National Magazine Award for fiction, and her first novel, Swamplandia! She is a graduate of the Columbia MFA program, a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, and a 2012 Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories, and Sleep Donation: A Novella.
n “The Bog Girl,” your story in this week’s issue, a young man named Cillian falls instantly in love with a two-thousand-year-old girl that he’s cut out of some peat.
Welcome to Random Reads, wherein we talk to authors about the characters and stories that defined their careers.
The catch: They don’t know beforehand which ones we’ll ask them to talk about.
She is a graduate of the Columbia MFA program and is the 2005 recipient of the Transatlantic Review/Henfield Foundation Award; her fiction has recently appeared in Conjunctions, Granta, Zoetrope, Oxford American, and The New Yorker. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves was published in September 2006, for which she was named a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" young writer honoree at a November 2009 ceremony. So, please help us - if the information about a particular author is out of date or inaccurate, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know.
Authors: If you wish to make changes to your bio, send your complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.
Virtually nothing is known about these people—even their name, the Windover people, is merely a placeholder, the name of the site where they were exhumed by a backhoe operator.
Cillian, who is fifteen, lives on a remote island off the coast of northern Europe.
How did you start to get interested in this semi-fictional landscape, and what made you realize that it would make a good setting for a story?
“The New Veterans” concerns a masseuse who can alter a soldier’s tattoos, while “The Barn At The End Of Our Term” supposes that every American president gets reincarnated into a horse in the same barn. , was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and she was a 2013 recipient of a “Genius” Grant from the Mac Arthur Foundation.
Russell’s latest work is the novella Sleep Donation, the debut release from Atavist Books, available exclusively as an e-book—which makes a certain sardonic sense, given the book centers on a society so overwhelmed by glowing screens that an insomnia epidemic grips America. Karen Russell: I think that story is lost in the mist a little bit. Originally I was going to do presidents reborn into different, confounding purgatorial situations. [Laughs.] I think that was the original intent, and also in a story that was going to be about everyone doing the calculus of how their past spills into their future—trying to do this anxious calculation about how past events might have created the future—these people would be obsessed with their legacies and how they’re remembered.
Was it the landscape or the apparition of a preserved woman that was the initial kernel of the story?