Mary Gaitskill

Award-winning author Mary Gaitskill is best known for delivering powerful stories of dislocation, longing, and desire with prose that “glides lightly over unsoundable depths” (Village Voice). She is the author of three novels: The Mare (2015), Veronica (2005), which was nominated for the 2005 National Book Award, National Critic’s Circle Award, and LA Times Book Award, and Two Girls, Fat and Thin (1991). She is the author of the story collections Bad Behavior (1988), Don’t Cry (1998), and Because They Wanted To (2009), which was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner in 1998. Bad Behavior, now a classic, established her as one of the sharpest, most erotically charged, and audaciously funny writing talents of contemporary literature. Bomb Magazine said of Don’t Cry, “Written with her distinctive, uncanny combination of bluntness and high lyricism, Don’t Cry takes its place among artworks of great moral seriousness.”

Gaitskill is also the author of the essay collection Somebody with A Little Hammer (2017). Gaitskill’s stories and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. Her story “Secretary” was the basis for the feature film of the same name starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader. In 2002 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction, and in 2010 she was awarded a Cullman Research Fellowship at the New York Public Library. She has taught at UC Berkeley, the University of Houston, New York University, Brown, and Syracuse University.

Mary Gaitskill was born in 1954 in Lexington, Kentucky. In 1981 Gaitskill graduated from the University of Michigan, where she won an award for her collection of short fiction The Woman Who Knew Judo and Other Stories.