Richard Russo biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Richard Russo
Pic: Elena Siebert

Richard Russo

Richard Russo Biography

Richard Russo knows small town America. This masterful novelist has an uncanny sense of the way life works in the gritty industrial towns of the American Northeast. From the gossip and the resentments to the people and the cafes, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Richard Russo chronicles blue-collar America in ways constantly surprising and utterly revealing.

Russo's previous works include seven novels and one collection of short stories. His 2001 novel, Empire Falls, won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It was also adapted into an HBO mini-series, starring Paul Newman, Ed Harris, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Helen Hunt. His latest book, Elsewhere, came out in 2012.

Russo earned a bachelor's degree, a master's in fine arts, and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. He has two daughters and lives with his wife in Camden, Maine.



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Interview

Join us for a conversation with Richard Russo as he discusses Empire Falls.

Was there a particular event or image that sparked Empire Falls?
When I finish a novel, it's hard to go back and try to reconstruct its beginnings. It's a little like an interrogation: what did you know and when did you know it? Here are a couple of things, though. When I was living in Waterville, Maine, some years ago, a factory closed down that had employed a large number of women who had been sewing famous-label men's dress shirts for much of their lives. They'd done everything they could to save their jobs and the factory, but the multi-national company that owned it shut them down anyway. That struck me as a story that was playing out all over the country, if not the world. From the beginning of my writing career, I've always been interested in ordinary people swept up in economic and political forces they can't begin to comprehend, as well as in the changing face of American labor. Becoming a writer has only deepened my sympathies for working people, who are always, it seems to me, the first to be sold out.

The other event that had burrowed deep was the school shooting in Paducah, especially the question it begged: how could such a thing happen here? The answers that are typically...

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Books by this Author

Books by Richard Russo at BookBrowse
Trajectory jacket Everybody's Fool jacket Elsewhere jacket That Old Cape Magic jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Richard Russo but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Lauren Acampora

    Lauren Acampora

    Lauren Acampora's fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, New England Review, and Antioch Review. Raised in Connecticut, she now lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband, ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Everybody's Fool

    Try:
    The Wonder Garden
    by Lauren Acampora

  • Paul Auster

    Paul Auster

    Paul Benjamin Auster was born on February 3, 1947 in Newark, New Jersey.  His father, Samuel Auster, was a landlord; his mother, Queenie was about 13 years younger than her husband; the marriage was not a happy one. ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Empire Falls

    Try:
    Sunset Park
    by Paul Auster

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