Ramona Ausubel

For me, humor is totally necessary, in the way that a certain organ is necessary, yet you have no idea how it works. I don’t think about humor logically, as in, I don’t see a dark place in a story and think, “I could use some comic relief here.” It’s much more instinctual than that, and actually I think that’s a feature of humor in general. We need it, even, or especially, in the hardest situations.


New York Public Library Young Lions Award Finalist

NPR Best Book of the Year




This is the book about class and love that I’ve been waiting for. A riches-to-rags story with all the twists and unraveling you could want, embroidered divine in the wizardy mind of Ramona Ausubel, whose imagination and music are simply peerless. A gorgeous and moving must-read!
— Claire Vaye Watkins
Everyday worries about pregnancy, mortality, and parents are given fantastical treatment in these playful stories… Ausubel’s best stories have an affecting vulnerability; fans of Kelly Link, Karen Russell, and Miranda July will want to give this a look.
Publishers Weekly
Excellent and peculiar … Ausubel’s imagination … wants to offer consolation for how ghastly things can get, a type of healing that only reading can provide. All 11 of these stories are deeply involving.
New York Times Book Review

Ramona Ausubel is the author of the recently published collection of short stories, Awayland (Riverhead Books, 2018), which the San Francisco Chronicle called, “A bewitching collection of stories,” as well as two novels: Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty (Riverhead Books 2016), which was a San Francisco Chronicle and NPR Best Book of the Year and a People magazine Book of the Week,  and No One is Here Except All of Us (Riverhead Books, 2012), which the New York Times called, “fantastical and ambitious. “ Her debut story collection, A Guide to Being Born (Riverhead Books, 2013) was a New York Times Notable Book.  

Winner of the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Fiction and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, she has also been a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, and long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Story Award and the International Impac Dublin Literary Award.  Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, The New York Times, NPR’s Selected Shorts, One Story, Electric Literature, Ploughshares, The Oxford American, and collected in The Best American Fantasy and online in The Paris Review.   She has been a finalist for the Puschart Prize and a Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.

When asked about fantasy and the magical in her work, and in fiction in general, Ausubel notes, “...I find I write most fruitfully when things are at least a little bit elevated or exaggerated. There are lots of conversations in the world about writing which focus on the benefit of the reader and what works for him or her, and of course all writers should care about that, but at the same time, the magic act of making something out of nothing is happening in the writer’s head, and it’s that brain that needs to be tended to first. I try to make sure I’m pushing stories in directions that make the brightest electric storms in my head, and hope that a reader on the other end is susceptible that same kind of lightning.”

Ausubel grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She holds an MFA from the University of California, Irvine where she won the Glenn Schaeffer Award in Fiction and served as editor of Faultline Journal of Art & Literature. Ausubel is a faculty member of the Low-Residency MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts and Visiting Professor at Colorado College.



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