Behind the Book: Karen Russell, Patricia Engel, and Jon Michaud.

May 12, 2011
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Karen Russell’s first novel, Swamplandia!, one of the year’s most anticipated books, has received widespread acclaim.  “Vividly worded, exuberant in characterization, the novel is a wild ride: Russell has style in spades,” writes The New York Times Book Review.  It was recently long-listed for the prestigious UK Orange Prize.  Karen’s debut story collection, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, was a 2006 Best Book of the Year for the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune.  In 2010, The New Yorker named her one of the “20 Under 40” top fiction writers.  She was featured in The New Yorker’s debut fiction issue and chosen as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists.  In 2009, she received the 5 Under 35 award from the National Book Foundation.  Three of her short stories have been selected for the Best American Short Stories volumes.

Patricia Engel’s first book, Vida, was hailed by Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Diaz as “the debut I’ve been waiting for.” Vida was named a 2010 New York Times Notable Book, PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award finalist, Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, and a Best Book of the Year by NPR and Latina Magazine.  Patricia’s stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Boston Review, Guernica, and Slice Magazine, among other publications.  She has received scholarships and residencies from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Key West Literary Seminar, Norman Mailer’s Writer’s Colony, and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.

Jon Michaud is the author of When Tito Loved Clara.  In his debut novel, “Michaud perfects a tale as old as time…when young love fails to conquer the tumultuous environment it battles,” praised BookPage.  Jon writes regularly for the Back Issues and Book Bench blogs on  His writing has also been published in Iron, North American Review, South Dakota Review, Denver Quarterly, and other periodicals.  He is the head librarian at The New Yorker magazine.

Behind the Book is a literacy nonprofit working with low-income students in NYC public schools.  Our mission is to excite children and young adults about reading.  Working in the 1st-12th grades, we bring authors and their books into individual classrooms to build literacy skills and a new generation of book readers.