Michael Knight Bio

Michael Knight is the author of the novels The Typist and Divining Rod, the short story collections Eveningland, Goodnight, Nobody, and Dogfight and Other Stories, and the book of novellas The Holiday Season. His novel, The Typist, was selected as a Best Book of the Year by The Huffington Post and The Kansas City Star, among other places, and appeared on Oprah’s Summer Reading List in 2011. His short stories have appeared in magazines and journals like The New Yorker, Oxford American, Paris Review and The Southern Review and have been anthologized in Best American Mystery Stories, 2004 and New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2009. Knight's forthcoming collection of linked stories, Eveningland (Atlantic Monthly Press) is available for preorder and will be out in March 2017. Knight teaches creative writing at the University of Tennessee and lives in Knoxville with his family.

Awards, Honors & Grants

Winner, Robert Penn Warren Prize for Excellence in Fiction, 2013
John and Renee Grisham Emerging Southern Writer, 2005
New Writing Award, Fellowship of Southern Writers, 1999
PEN/Hemingway Foundation Special Citation, 1999
Henfield Foundation Award for Fiction, 1996


MFA, University of Virginia
MA, University of Southern Mississippi
BA, Hampden-Sydney College



Eveningland (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2017)
The Typist (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2010)
The Holiday Season (Grove, 2007)
Goodnight, Nobody (Atlantic Monthly, 2003)
Divining Rod (Dutton, 1998)
Dogfight & Other Stories (Plume, 1998)

Fiction in Periodicals

“Water and Oil” The Southern Review (vol. 49:4 Autumn 2013)
“Jubilee,” Ploughshares (vol 39:2, Fall 2013)
“Bonny Oaks,” The Saturday Evening Post, July, 2012
"The Atom Bowl,” Narrative, Fall 2010
The Nocturnal Habits of American White People,” Shenandoah (vol. 77, no. 2 summer 2010)
“Grand Old Party,” Oxford American, April 2008
“Thanksgiving,” Southern Review (vol.41, n.4, autumn 2005)
“Midnight at the Admiral Semmes,” Five Points (vol. 8, no. 1, winter 2003)
“Smash & Grab,” StoryQuarterly (no. 39, 2003)
“Feeling Lucky,” Virginia Quarterly Review (vol. 79, no. 1, winter 2003)
“Ellen’s Book,” Five Points (vol 6, no.1, winter 2001)
“Keeper of Secrets, Teller of Lies,” Virginia Quarterly Review, (vol. 77, no. 4, autumn 2001)
“The End of Everything,” GQ (December, 1999)
“The Mesmerist,” Esquire (March, 1999)
“The Last War Story,” Mid-American Review (vol.19, no. 2, spring 1999)
“Birdland,” The New Yorker (November 3, 1998)
“Killing Stonewall Jackson,” Story (vol. 46, no. 3 summer, 1998)
“Tenant,” Paris Review (no. 147, summer 1998)
“Amelia Earhart’s Coat,” Virginia Quarterly Review (vol. 73, no. 1, winter, 1997)
“Now You See Her,” Paris Review (no. 141, winter 1996)
“Gerald’s Monkey” Playboy (October, 1996)
“Sleeping with My Dog,” The Crescent Review (vol. 14, no. 3, 1996)
“Sundays,” Shenandoah (vol. 46, no. 4, winter 1996)

Fiction in Anthologies

“Grand Old Party,” New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best (Algonquin, 2008)
“Gerald’s Monkey,” Behind the Short Story: From First to Final Draft (Pearson/Longman, 2007)
“Birdland, ” Best of the South: 1996-2005 (Algonquin, 2005)
“Feeling Lucky,” New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best (Algonquin, 2004)
“Smash & Grab,” Best American Mystery Stories (Houghton Mifflin, 2004)
“Ellen’s Book,” New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best (Algonquin, 2003)
“Birdland,” New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best (Algonquin, 1999)

Essays and Creative Nonfiction

“Swimming the Backstroke or Writing What We Don’t Know,” Harvard Review (vol. 33, Fall 2007)
“Faulkner, Rowan Oak and the Art of Deception,” First Draft (Vol. 13, no. 1, Fall 2006)
“My Friend, Percival,” Calalloo (vol. 28, no. 2, spring 2005)
“Eyes,” Body (Avon Books, 1999)

“The spirit of Eudora Welty broods over these adroitly crafted stories

crafted stories set in and around coastal Alabama, evoking a world coiled tight as a conch shell.”

—Hamilton Cain and Erin Vanderhoof for O The Oprah Magazine’s 20 Best Books to Pick up this April

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Michael Knight At Briarwood School for Girls Tour Schedule

Charlottesville, VA
March 20, 2019, 4pm
Virginia Festival of the Book
Central JMRL Library
201 E Market Street
Charlottesville, VA 22902

Knoxville, TN
April 4, 2019, 6pm
Union Ave. Books
517 Union Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37902

Birmingham, AL
April 6, 2019, 2pm
Alabama Booksmith
2626 19th Place South
Birmingham, AL 35209

Los Angeles, CA
April 13–14, 2019
LA Times Festival of Books
University of Southern California
University Park Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90089

Richmond, VA
May 1, 2019
Fountain Bookstore
1312 East Cary St.
Richmond, VA 23219

Williamsburg, VA
May 2, 2019
Barnes & Noble
5101 Main St.
Williamsburg, VA 23188

Southern Pines, NC
May 8, 2019
Country Bookshop
140 NW Broad St.
Southern Pines, NC 28387

Atlanta, GA
May 9, 2019
A Cappella at Wrecking Bar
292 Moreland Ave. NE
Atlanta, GA 30307

Oxford, MS
May 16, 2019
Square Books
160 Courthouse Square
Oxford, MS 38655

Praise for Eveningland

Sublime . . . Profound . . . While reading Eveningland, I couldn’t help but be reminded of another legendary Alabama-born story writer: the great Tobias Wolff. Like Wolff, the brilliance of Knight’s economy is most obvious in his endings, which nearly every time achieve a difficult, two-pronged task: not only do they recast and contextualize each sentence leading up to it, but extend the stories’ and the characters’ potential into an imaginative infinity. Also like Wolff, Knight has a generous heart and an eye for quirky, comedic irony.”

—David Byron Queen, Deep South Magazine

Throughout this collection, the beauty and danger of Mobile Bay itself becomes a barometer of the characters’ choices and the larger forces which press on their lives. Sometimes the gentle tides of the water bring quiet reassurance, though loss, too, can arrive like a slow, encroaching threat, imperceptible from the shore...Eveningland is tough to put down, thanks to Knight’s masterful command of pacing and suspense. The stories make surprising reversals, and in the process they leave us with the same feeling toward these characters that the Bay instills in them—a sense that whatever the upheavals and changeability of weather may reveal to us, deeper, unreachable mysteries will always lurk beneath the surface.”

—Emily Choate, Chapter 16

First things first: Michael Knight’s prose is pristine, as watertight as the skiffs, barges, and tankers that occupy Mobile Bay...The South is present here—fresh crabmeat, Spanish moss, reverberations of the Civil War—but never nostalgic or self-indulgent. A sense of place and past is strong, but it never overshadows the compelling human narratives at the center of every story...Eveningland is both expansive and contained, exploratory and insular...Each piece is as impeccable and varied as Knight’s readers have come to expect.”

—Kevin Kotur, The Kansas City Star

The interconnected stories in this exquisitely crafted collection explore the lives of characters living in and around Mobile, Ala., in the years preceding the destruction wrought by a fictional hurricane. A master of the short story, Knight (The Typist) distills some of life’s most significant and transformative experiences into a deceptively small amount of space...Peppered throughout with regional history that firmly places the reader in the collection’s southern setting, these often funny and heartfelt stories explore life in its messy fullness while also exuding a deep, wistful wisdom.”

—Publisher’s Weekly starred review

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Knight’s style is deceptively plainspoken, with low-key wit and a laconic precision that often ripens, as a story proceeds, into poignancy...the centerpiece and triumph of the collection is its closing novella, Landfall, which tells with enormous finesse, speed, and concision, like a family saga in demi-glace reduction, the mingled stories of a shipyard-owning family—the widow of the paterfamilias, her daughter and two sons, the daughter’s two daughters, one son’s beloved dog—as a hurricane bears down on Mobile. From a distinguished Southern writer, a very fine collection capped by a masterful novella.”

—Kirkus Reviews starred review

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The characters in Michael Knight’s linked story collection, Eveningland, live in the finer precincts of Mobile, Alabama, or else across the bay in blithe Fairhope...what links these stories isn’t the cursory connections that characters in one tale have with those in another—on occasion they’ll hop over to another story for a cocktail—nor is it Knight’s calibrated sociological rendering, his narrative taxonomy of this Gulf Coast tribe. What binds this collection instead, and what ultimately imbues Eveningland with novelistic force, is the growing, smudgy presence of a cloud on the horizon, in some cases both literal and figurative, toward which every story tilts.”

—Jonathan Miles

for Garden & Gun, February/March 2017

“This new collection gives us a handful of new, shorter gems and one long, beautiful piece you’ll not be able to forget. With each selection, Knight finds people in crisis and he makes that crisis both deeply personal and deeply universal. His literary god-uncles, Fitzgerald and Cheever, would be proud of their nephew and his work. As for the rest of us, how fortunate we are, how truly fortunate, to be able to read his fiction. Michael Knight is an American master.”

—Tom Franklin

author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

There’s something almost holy in the way Michael Knight writes about his native Alabama, emotional honesty and acuteness of vision leavened with genuine reverence for these people and this place. Taken individually these stories are beautifully crafted—often funny, just as often heartbreaking, always surprising. Taken together, they paint a portrait that is on its surface as refined as the region’s most wistful vision of itself. Beneath that gracious veneer, however, lurk depths of loss and longing that speak to what it means to be alive no matter where you live.”

—Adam Johnson

author of The Orphan Master's Son

Michael Knight is a supremely gifted writer and his latest collection—Eveningland—offers rich and lasting proof of this on every page. I am in awe of how skillfully he manages tension and suspense on the page—a slow burning flame that might explode or not, might manifest as tragedy in the physical world or simply the painful collapse of a human heart. There is humor and grief and an aching sense of longing that is nearly impossible to catch and put on the page. But Michael Knight does it and not only that, he does it beautifully.”

—Jill McCorkle

author of Life After Life


In his powerful new short story cycle, Alabama-born short story virtuoso Michael Knight illuminates the everyday beauty and heartache of life along the shores of serene, history-haunted Mobile Bay in the years preceding a devastating hurricane.

Eveningland / Stories / Cloth ISBN 978-0-8021-2597-2 / 304 pp. / Mar. 2017


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“Michael Knight tells the story of generals, war, and occupation through the eyes of a typist who proves himself to be the calm at the center of the storm. The result is this elegant, thoughtful, and resonant novel.”
—Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto

The Typist / A Novel / Cloth ISBN 978-0-8021-4536-9 / 209 pp. / Aug. 2010


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“. . . There is a long tradition of fiction using holiday gatherings as a vehicle for examining relationships under stress...Michael Knight’s The Holiday Season joins this crowded table and makes itself at home.”
—Floyd Skloot, The New York Times Book Review

The Holiday Season / Novellas / Cloth ISBN 978-0-8021-1857-8 / 144 pp. / Nov. 2007


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“Arresting . . . Knight has the rare power to make a setting breathe, to invest it with a vitality that seems as authentic and intense as the pulsebeats of his characters.”
—Jonathan Miles,
The New York Times Book Review

Goodnight, Nobody / Stories / Cloth ISBN 978-0-8711-3867-5 / 192 pp. / Feb. 2003


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“Every word in this deeply resonant novel is pure gold.” ”
—The Washington Post Book World

“A novel by a writer of the first rank.”


Divining Rod / A Novel / Cloth ISBN 978-0-8021-4497-3 / 144 pp. / Oct. 1998


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“Ten stories cut like gems from American family life.”
—Los Angeles Times

“[These stories] gather their considerable power not from stylistic flash or conceptual cleverness but from the fact that they tell us only what we need to know.”

Dogfight / Stories / Cloth ISBN 978-0-8021-4330-3 / 160 pp. / Oct. 1998


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