Susan Straight Novelist, Professor at UCRiverside, 'Take One Candle Light a Room'

Susan Straight has published six novels, Aquaboogie (Milkweed Editions, 1990), I Been In Sorrow’s Kitchen and Licked Out All The Pots (Hyperion, 1992, Anchor paperback, 1993), which was named one of the best novels of 1992 by both USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly, as well as named a Notable Book by the New York Times, Blacker Than a Thousand Midnights (Hyperion, 1994, Anchor paperback 1995), The Gettin Place (Hyperion 1996, Anchor paperback 1997), and Highwire Moon (Houghton Mifflin, 2001), which was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Commonwealth of California Gold Medal for Fiction.

Highwire Moon was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and Los Angeles Times bestseller, and was named one of the year’s best novels by The San Francisco Chronicle and The Washington Post. Highwire Moon was released in paperback by Anchor Books in October, 2002. It was optioned for film by Little Monument Pictures in 2002, and is in development. Her new novel A Million Nightingales, was published by Pantheon in March 2006, and was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. It was a finalist for the 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the 2006 Southern California Booksellers’ Award. It was released in paperback May 2007. Her first middle grade reader, The Friskative Dog, was published by Knopf in March 2007.

In November 2007, Straight received The Lannan Award for Fiction, for her body of work.

She has published essays and articles in numerous magazines and journals, such as The New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Times Magazine (now WEST), Harpers, The Believer, The Nation, Organic Style, Reader’s Digest, Real Simple, Family Circle, Salon, Oxford American, Ms. and The Ruminator Review.

Her short fiction has appeared in Zoetrope All-Story, McSweeney’s, Black Clock, TriQuarterly, Story, Ploughshares, The Ontario Review, and North American Review, among other magazines. Her short story “El Ojo De Agua” was chosen for the 2007 O Henry Prize collection, and was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in 2007. “Mines” was chosen for Best American Short Stories 2003 and won a Pushcart Prize in Fiction. “Bridgework” was a Distinguished Story in Best American Short Stories 2004.

Her commentaries are frequently heard on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.

She was born in Riverside, California in 1960, and still lives there with her three daughters. She has taught creative writing at University of California, Riverside, since 1988.