Richard Russo was born in Johnstown, New York, and grew up in nearby Gloversville. He received his BA, MA, and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Arizona. He was teaching at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale when his first novel, Mohawk, was published in 1986. He is the author of eight novels––Mohawk (1986), The Risk Pool (1988), Nobody’s Fool (1993), Straight Man (1997), Empire Falls (2001), Bridge of Sighs (2007), That Old Cape Magic (2009), and Everybody’s Fool (2016)––two collections of short stories, The Whore’s Child and Other Stories (2002) and Trajectory: Stories (2017); Elsewhere: A Memoir (2012); and Interventions (2012), illustrated by his daughter Kate Russo. A collection of essays, The Destiny Thief, was published in May 2018.
Empire Falls won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2002 and was adapted by Russo into an Emmy-nominated 2005 HBO miniseries starring Ed Harris and Helen Hunt. Nobody’s Fool was adapted into a 1994 award-winning movie starring Paul Newman, Jessica Tandy, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. He also wrote the screenplays for the films Keeping Mum (2005), The Ice Harvest (2005), and Twilight (1994) and the teleplays for the TV movies Brush with Fate (2003) and The Flamingo Rising (2001).
Russo taught creative writing for many years at Colby College. He is currently vice-president of the Authors Guild. He has received a National Magazine Award, was a guest editor of Best American Short Stories, and was named an “Indy Champion” by the American Booksellers Association. The French translation of Everybody’s Fool won the 2017 Grand Prix de Littérature Américaine in 2017 and in March 2018 he received the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers for his advocacy on behalf of emerging writers. He lives with his wife Barbara in Portland, Maine, where his daughter Emily recently opened a bookstore called Print. He has collaborated with his daughter Kate on screenplays. He is currently at work on a new novel.