The Word - Media

ZZ Packer

ZZ Packer grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and Louisville, Kentucky. Her given name is Zuwena. Recognized as a talented writer at an early age, her first significant publication was in Seventeen magazine at the age of 19.

Packer attended Yale University, where she received a B.A in 1994. Her graduate work included an M.A. at Johns Hopkins University in 1995 and an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1999. She was named a Stegner Fellow in Fiction at Stanford University.

Shortly thereafter, she entered the national literary scene with a high-profile appearance in the Debut Fiction issue of The New Yorker (2000). Her short story in the issue became the title story in her collection Drinking Coffee Elsewhere (2003), which was published to considerable acclaim. The book was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, a New York Times Notable Book, and personally selected by John Updike for theToday Show Book Club. Her stories have also appeared in Best American Short Stories 2000 and 2003.

In 2005, she was awarded the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction. She is on the faculty of California College of the Arts, where she serves as Senior Visiting Professor of Creative Writing. She is a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, a workspace co-operative.

She lives in Pacifica, California, a coastal town near San Francisco and is currently at work on a novel set in the aftermath of the Civil War.

In June 2010 she was named one of the New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” list of fiction writers worth watching.

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