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Richard Russo  

Author of the Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novel "Empire Falls" and his Memoir "Elsewhere"

Richard Russo knows small town America. This masterful novelist has an uncanny sense of the way life works in the gritty industrial towns of the American Northeast. From the gossip and the resentments to the people and the cafes, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Richard Russo chronicles blue-collar America in ways constantly surprising and utterly revealing.

Russo’s previous works include seven novels and one collection of short stories. His 2001 novel, Empire Falls, won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It was also adapted into an HBO mini-series, starring Paul Newman, Ed Harris, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Helen Hunt. His latest book, Elsewhere, came out in 2012.

Russo earned a bachelor’s degree, a master’s in fine arts, and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. He has two daughters and lives with his wife in Camden, Maine.

Speech Topics


In this lecture, Russo traces the source of humor in general, and of his own humor in particular, to an unlikely source - pain.


In this lecture, Russo discusses his home town of Gloversville as the source of fictional towns in his works (Mohawk, North Bath, Empire Falls, and Thomaston). In doing so, he sheds light on every writer's least favorite question: where does he get his ideas from?

An Evening with Richard Russo

Pulitzer Prize-winner Russo discusses his novels, short stories, and the character development, writing and editing process behind his work.


In this talk, Russo examines the concept of destiny—the end of a journey that, for all of us, must begin with home.

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