Writing Program Faculty, Alumni: Premiere Place in Spring Issues of "The New Yorker"

May 08, 2011

Columbia University School of the Arts Writing Program professors and alumni have occupied a premiere place in recent issues of The New Yorker, which have featured short stories by Fiction professors Donald Antrim, Sam Lipsyte, and Ben Marcus; essays by Fiction Professor Gary Shteyngart, and Fiction alumna Kiran Desai (’99SOA); and a feature article by Fiction alumna and Adjunct Professor Rivka Galchen (’06SOA).

He Knew, Antrim’s story of a troubled, pill-popping couple on a shopping spree appeared in the May 9 issue of the magazine. Antrim is the author of three novels, Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World, The Hundred Brothers, and The Verificationist, as well as a memoir, The Afterlife. He has had fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.

Lipsyte’s story, Deniers, was featured in the May 2 issue, and it tells of a young woman’s attempts to come to terms with her addictions; her relationship with her aging father, a Holocaust survivor; her mother’s suicide; and a seduction from an unlikely source. Lipsyte's most recent book is The Ask. He is also the author of Home Land, which was a The New York Times Notable Book for 2005 and winner of The Believer Book Award, as well as The Subject Steve and Venus Drive. His fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, and he has won a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Marcus’ story Rollingwood, in which a man is trying to look after his asthmatic eighteen-month-old son, was published in the March 21 issue of the magazine. Marcus’ new novel, The Flame Alphabet, will be published by Knopf in 2012. He is the author of three books of fiction: Notable American Women, The Father Costume, and The Age of Wire and String. His stories, essays, and reviews have been published widely, and he is the recipient of the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and three Pushcart Prizes.

In Map Quest, which appeared in the April 18 issue, Shteyngart reflects on the Soviet atlas that accompanied him on his childhood emigration from Leningrad to Queens, NY. Shteyngart is the author of the novels Absurdistan andThe Russian Debutante's Handbook. Absurdistan was chosen as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Time magazine, and many other publications. The Russian Debutante's Handbook won the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, and earned numerous other accolades. His work has been translated into twenty languages.

Desai, too, meditates on the immigrant’s uneasy sense of identity in Fatherland, also appearing in the April 18 issue. In the essay, Desai, who was born in New Delhi, India, and lived there until she was 14, shares memories of her father. While a student at Columbia, Desai wrote Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, which won the Betty Trask Award for the best first novel by a Commonwealth of Nations citizen under the age of 35. Her second novel, The Inheritance of Loss, won the 2006 Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award. Her next novel, The Loneliness of Sonia and Sunny, will be published in 2012.

Galchen profiles David Deutsch, the physicist and promoter of the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics, in Dream Machine, which appears in the May 2 issue. Galchen's debut novel, Atmospheric Disturbances, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in June 2008. The book was selected as one of The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2008, a Salon.com Top Ten Book of the Year, and a Slate Best Book of the Year. Galchen was a finalist for The New York Public Library's 2009 Young Lions Fiction Award and the 2008 Mercantile Library Center for Fiction's John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize. She is currently a Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library.