Peter Orner’s first novel The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo (reviewed here) was a San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller. His collection of short fiction, Esther Stories, won the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Samuel Goldberg & Sons Foundation Prize for Jewish Fiction by Emerging Writers and was a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. Stories from the collection have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2001 and the Pushcart Prize XXV: Best of the Small Presses, 2001 Edition. His work has also appeared in such journals as The Atlantic Monthly, McSweeney’s, BOMB, The Paris Review, and The Southern Review.
Like the principal character in his novel, Orner taught in a rural Catholic school in Namibia in the early 1990s. A Chicago native, he now teaches in the graduate writing program at San Francisco State University. In 2006, he was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship.
Photo by Marion Ettlinger