Rebecca Makkai (born April 20, 1978) is an American novelist and short-story writer. Her first novel, The Borrower, was released in June 2011. It was a Booklist Top Ten Debut, an Indie Next pick, an O Magazine selection, and one of Chicago Magazine's choices for best fiction of 2011. It was translated into seven languages. Her short stories have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 and as well as in ″The Best American Nonrequired Reading″" 2009 and 2016; she received a 2017 Pushcart Prize and a 2014 NEA fellowship. Her fiction has also appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, The Threepenny Review, New England Review, and Shenandoah. Her nonfiction has appeared in Harpers and on Salon.com and the New Yorker website. Makkai's stories have also been featured on Public Radio International's Selected Shorts and This American Life. Her second novel, The Hundred-Year House, is set in the Northern suburbs of Chicago, and was published by Viking/Penguin in July 2014, having received starred reviews in Booklist, Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. It won the 2015 Novel of the Year award from the Chicago Writers Association and was named a best book of 2014 by BookPage. Her short story collection, Music for Wartime, was published by Viking in June 2015. A starred and featured review in Publishers Weekly said, "Though these stories alternate in time between WWII and the present day, they all are set, as described in the story “Exposition,” within “the borders of the human heart”—a terrain that their author maps uncommonly well.” The Kansas City Star wrote that "if any short story writer can be considered a rock star of the genre, it's Rebecca Makkai."
As of early 2017, she is reportedly at work on a novel about the AIDS epidemic in 1980s Chicago, titled The Great Believers. It is expected to be published by Viking/Penguin in 2018.
Makkai, who grew up in Lake Bluff, Illinois, is the daughter of linguistics professors Valerie Becker Makkai and Adam Makkai. Her paternal grandmother, Ignacz Rozsa, was a well-known actress and novelist in Hungary. Makkai graduated from Lake Forest Academy, thereafter from Washington and Lee University with a BA in English, and subsequently earned a master's degree from Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English.
She has taught at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Northwestern University, Lake Forest College, Sierra Nevada College, and StoryStudio Chicago.The Hundred-Year House, Viking (2014)
The Borrower, Viking (2011)
Music for Wartime, Viking (June 2015)