Chicago-born Peter Orner is the author of two novels published by Little, Brown: THE SECOND COMING OF MAVALA SHIKONGO, 2006 and LOVE AND SHAME AND LOVE, 2010. And two story collections also published by Little, Brown: ESTHER STORIES, 2001, 2013 with new foreword by Marilynne Robinson and LAST CAR OVER THE SAGAMORE BRIDGE, 2013. His latest book an essay collection/ memoir, AM I ALONE HERE?: NOTES ON READING TO LIVE AND LIVING TO READ (Catapult, 2016) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His work has been translated into French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, and Japanese.
Peter is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. Currently, he is on a Fulbright Fellowship in Namibia where he is teaching at the University of Namibia. He lives with his family in Windhoek.
Peter is also the editor of three oral histories for the Voice of Witness Series: UNDERGROUND AMERICA: NARRATIVES OF UNDOCUMENTED LIVES (VOW/ McSweeney's, 2008), HOPE DEFERRED: NARRATIVES OF ZIMBABWEAN LIVES (VOW/ McSweeney's, 2011) (co-edited with Annie Holmes), and LAVIL: LIVE, LOVE AND DEATH IN PORT-AU-PRINCE (VOW/ Verso Press, 2017) (co-edited with Evan Lyon).
Peter's fiction and non-fiction has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, Granta, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, The Southern Review, Ploughshares and many other publications. Stories have been anthologized in Best American Stories and twice received a Pushcart Prize. Peter has been awarded the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy in Rome, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a two-year Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship. He's also received a California Book Award (LOVE AND SHAME AND LOVE), the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Writing (ESTHER STORIES) and has been a finalist for the Pen/ Hemingway Award ESTHER STORIES, the Los Angeles Times Book Award (THE SECOND COMING OF MAVALA SHIKONGO), and the Northern California Book Award (LAST CAR OVER THE SAGAMORE BRIDGE) .
Recently, Peter also wrote introductions for the re-issue of Mavis Gallant's novels, A FAIRLY GOOD TIME, (New York Review of Books, 2016) and Gina Berriault's story collection WOMEN IN THEIR BEDS (Counterpoint, 2017)
A film of one of Peter's stories, "The Raft," (with screenplay by Peter and Rob Jones) and starring Ed Asner premiered at the Woods Hole Film Festival in Woods Hole, Massachusetts in 2015, and has been screened at festivals around the country.
Peter also regularly teaches on the fiction faculty at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. For many years he worked with wonderful graduate students as a professor at San Francisco State University and served as chair of the department. He's also taught at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop (Visiting Professor), Northwestern, the University of Montana (William Kittredge Visting Writer, 2009), Washington University (Visiting Hurst Professor, 2008), Bard College (Bard Fiction Prize Fellowship, 2007), Miami University, and on the law faculty of Charles University in Prague.
He's a graduate of the University of Michigan, Northeastern University School of Law, and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. Peter is also a former member of the Bolinas, California Volunteer Fire Department in Bolinas, California. He collects coffee cups and is a frequent but mediocre swimmer.