Susan Straight’s new novel, Between Heaven and Here, is the final book in the Rio Seco trilogy set in Los Angeles, Rio Seco, and Louisiana.
Take One Candle Light a Room was named one of the best novels of 2010 by The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and Kirkus, and A Million Nightingales was a 2006 Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her novel Highwire Moon, a Los Angeles Times bestseller, was a Finalist for the 2001 National Book Award, won the Commonwealth of California Gold Medal for Fiction and was named one of the year’s best novels by The San Francisco Chronicle and The Washington Post.
Her other published novels are 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), and The Gettin Place (Hyperion 1996, Anchor paperback 1997). 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. In 1998, she received a Guggenheim for Fiction. 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 “The Golden Gopher,” published in Los Angeles Noir, won the 2008 Edgar Award, given by the Mystery Writers of America. 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, where she lives with her family, whose history is featured on susanstraight.com. She has taught creative writing at University of California, Riverside, since 1988. In 2008 she received the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award.