Peter Orner

Peter Orner
Advisor, Thesis Reader
(415) 338-3082


Author of a story collection, Esther Stories (Houghton Mifflin, 2001) as well as two novels, The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo (Little, Brown, 2006) and Love and Shame and Love (Little, Brown, 2011). Esther Stories was awarded the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction, and was a Finalist for the Pen Hemingway Award and the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award. The collection was re-issued by Little, Brown in 2013 with a new forward by Marilynne Robinson.  The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo, a novel set in Namibia, won the Bard Fiction Prize and was a Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.  Love and Shame and Love was a New York Times Editor’s Choice Book and is a Finalist for the California Book Award.  Orner’s fiction has been translated into Italian, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Hebrew, and Japanese. A new collection of stories Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge will be published by Little, Brown in Fall, 2013. Orner’s fiction and non-fiction has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, Granta, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, The Believer, The Southern Review, The Forward, The San Francisco Chronicle, Bomb, and Ploughshares. Stories have been anthologized in Best American Stories and twice won a Pushcart Prize. Orner was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (2006), as well as the two-year Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship (2007-2008). A film version of one of Orner’s stories, “The Raft” with a screenplay by Orner and the film’s director, Rob Jones, is currently in production and stars Ed Asner. Orner is also the editor of two non-fiction books, Underground America (2008) and Hope Deferred: Narratives of Zimbabwean Lives (co-editor Annie Holmes, 2010), both published by McSweeney’s/​ Voice of Witness, an imprint devoted to using oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. Orner has taught at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop (Visiting Professor, 2011), University of Montana (William Kittredge Visting Writer, 2009), the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College (2009) Washington University (Visiting Hurst Professor, 2008), Bard College (Bard Fiction Prize Fellowship, 2007), Miami University (Visiting Professor, 2002), Charles University in Prague (Visiting Law Faculty, 2000). A native of Chicago, Orner is a professor at San Francisco State.


Photo courtesy of Traci Griffin;