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Richard Powers

Festival Theme: "Stories and the More-Than-Human." 


Richard Powers was born in Evanston, Illinois, in 1957. When he was 11, his family moved to Thailand, where they remained until 1972, when they returned to the U.S. He received a B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of Illinois. He has taught at the University of Illinois and Stanford University.

His thirteen novels, which explore connections among disciplines as disparate as photography, artificial intelligence, musical composition, ecology, genomics, game theory, virtual reality, race, biology, and business, include Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance (1986), Prisoner’s Dilemma (1988), The Gold Bug Variations (1991), Operation Wandering Soul (1993), Galatea 2.2 (1995), Gain (1998), Plowing the Dark (2000), The Time of Our Singing (2003), The Echo Maker (2006), Generosity: An Enhancement (2009), Orfeo (2014), The Overstory (2018), and Bewilderment (2021). Gain won the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical American Fiction; Plowing the Dark won the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award Prize from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters; The Time of Our Singing won the Ambassador Book Award and the W. H. Smith Literary Award; The Echo Maker won the National Book Award; Orfeo won the Silver Medal for Fiction from the California Book Awards; and The Overstory won the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, and the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has also won the Rosenthal Award of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters; a MacArthur Fellowship; a PEN/Hemingway Special Citation; a Lannan Literary Award; the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature; the Corrington Award; two Pushcart Prizes; and Time Magazine’s Book of the Year. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2010.

His fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, Grand Street, Conjunctions, Granta, The Guardian, Common Knowledge, Wired, Tin House, Zoetrope, Paris Review, The Believer, Best American Short Stories, and The New York Times Sunday Magazine. His work has been translated into 35 languages.

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