Laura Furman, 2010
© Ave Bonar, Austin, Texas

My newest book:
The Mother Who Stayed
Free Press, February 2011

"No book could be more beautifully formed or more deeply satisfying . "
Joan Silber, author of
The Size of the World and Ideas of Heaven

"There are no false notes anywhere in this collection, which Furman presents as three 'trios.' . . . . Although each story deepens the others in its trio, each also stands alone. And although time’s passing and the losses it brings is a prevailing theme, the stories are also suffused with a deep sense of what abides."
— Mary Ellen Quinn, Booklist

"A nicely hewn collection of new stories by PEN/​O. Henry Prize Stories series editor Furman (The Glass House) pursues three family cycles with a hard focus on the mothers. . . . Furman's prose ambles sinuously, in unexpected directions, and has a quiet, sure effect."
Publishers Weekly


A personal note of welcome to my readers: Please take some time to explore my site, to look through my works and my blog, and to send me a message through my contact page. Below is a biographical statement.

LAURA FURMAN was born in New York and educated at Hunter College High School and Bennington College. After college, she lived in New York City, in Stockholm, and in Washington County, New York. In 1978, she moved to Texas, where she’s lived ever since, in Houston, Galveston, Dallas, Lockhart, and Austin. She lives with her husband, Joel Warren Barna, and their son.

For many years, Laura Furman taught in the English Department of the University of Texas at Austin, where she was Susan Taylor McDaniel Regents Professor of Creative Writing. While at UT Austin, she founded American Short Fiction, a literary journal. In 2006, she was given the UT Austin President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award. She has also taught at Wilkes College, Wilkes-Barre, PA; The University of Houston, Houston, TX; Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX; and the Institut du Monde Anglophone, Sorbonne University, Paris, France.

Her first story appeared in The New Yorker in 1976, and since then work has appeared in Yale Review, Southwest Review, Ploughshares, American Scholar, Mademoiselle, and many other magazines. Her essays have appeared in Preservation, Mirabella, and House & Garden, among others. Her books include three collections of short stories: The Glass House (1981), Watch Time Fly (1983), and Drinking with the Cook (2001); two novels: Tuxedo Park (1986) and The Shadow Line (1982); and a memoir: Ordinary Paradise (1998). With Elinore Standard, she co-edited an anthology about reading, Bookworms.

She is the recipient of fellowships from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Dobie Paisano Project, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has been awarded residency fellowships from the Corporation of Yaddo and the Dobie-Paisano Project, and she was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome. Her short stories have won the Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award, The Smart Family Foundation/​Yale Review Prize for Best Short Story, the Ritchie-McGinnis Award for Best Work of Fiction in Southwest Review, and the Texas Institute of Letters Short Story Award.

In 2002, she became the ninth series editor of The PEN/​O. Henry Prize Stories, published annually by Anchor Books. Each year, she picks the twenty winning stories and writes an introduction for the volume.

With Lynn C. Miller, Laura Furman is author of “Passenger on the Ship of Fools,” a play for three actors about the life and work of Katherine Anne Porter. The play had its premiere in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2009.

Laura Furman’s new book of fiction, The Mother Who Stayed: Stories, will be published in February 2011 by Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster.


Story Collections
Winedale Books, 2001.
"Furman’s portraits of her characters are rich in telling details, showing them utterly and convincingly rooted in their worlds. Her luxuriant histories of grief are sure and exact, drawing the reader in and rarely loosening their grip." The New York Times Book Review
Viking Press, 1983
"The stories in Watch Time Fly are deceptively simple; they illustrate the way in which masterful skill can disguise itself as an innocent lack of literary self-consciousness." –Wendy Lesser, The New York Times Book Review
Summit Books, 1986;
reissued by Winedale Books in 2000
"Tuxedo Park is the best entertainment imaginable, rich in plot and event, pulling the reader from page to page as powerfully as the most suspenseful thriller. But it's also good literature. It's finely crafted, each character lovingly, carefully wrought, each scene meticulously colored and every detail palpable.... This is a book that first catches your eye and then grabs your heart. It hangs on and won't let go." — Anne Tyler, USA Today
Viking Press, 1982
Winedale Books, 1996.
"Ordinary Paradise shows how a devastating loss, acknowledged or not, can seep through the family psyche." —The New York Times Book Review
Edited Collections
“Widely regarded as the nation’s most prestigious awards for short fiction.” —The Atlantic Monthly

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