Karen Russell headshot


Keynote Speaker

Karen Russell is the author of five books of fiction, including the NYT bestsellers Swamplandia! and Vampires in the Lemon Grove. She is a MacArthur Fellow and a Guggenheim Fellow, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the recipient of two National Magazine Awards for Fiction, the Shirley Jackson Award, the 2023 Bottari Lattes Grinzane prize, the 2024 Mary McCarthy Award, and selected for the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” award and the New Yorker’s “20 under 40” list. (She is now decisively over 40.)

Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper’s, Zoetrope, Conjunctions, Tin House, and The New York Review of Books, and anthologized in The Pushcart Prize and The Best American Short Stories series. With composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone and choreographer and director Troy Schumacher, she co-created BalletCollective’s genre-straddling work, The Night Falls, one of The New York Times’ Best Dance Performances of 2023. Her story “Proving Up” was adapted into a critically acclaimed opera by Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek, with whom she’s collaborating on an original opera, premiering in 2025.

She has taught literature and creative writing as a visiting professor at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the University of California-Irvine, Williams College, Columbia University, and Bryn Mawr College, and served as the Endowed Chair of Texas State’s MFA program. She has served on the board of the American Academy for Teachers and is a current board member and volunteer for Street Books. Born and raised in Miami, FL, she now lives in Portland, OR with her husband and two kids.

Her new novel, The Antidote, is forthcoming from Knopf / Penguin Random House in April 2025.