Susan Straight has published eight novels: Aquaboogie (Milkweed Editions, 1990); I Been In Sorrow's Kitchen and Licked Out All The Pots (Hyperion, 1992); Blacker Than a Thousand Midnights (Hyperion, 1994); The Gettin Place (Hyperion, 1996); Highwire Moon (Houghton Mifflin, 2001); A Million Nightingales (Pantheon Books, 2006); Take One Candle Light a Room (Pantheon Books, 2010) and Between Heaven and Here (McSweeney's, 2012). Her first children's book, The Friskative Dog, was published by Knopf in March 2007 and her picture book Bear E. Bear was published in 1995 by Hyperion Books. In 2011 Straight received the Gina Berriault Award for Fiction from San Francisco State University. In November 2007 she received The Lannan Award for Fiction for her body of work, and in 1998 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship for Fiction. Straight has published essays and articles in numerous magazines and journals, including The New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Harpers, The Believer, The Nation, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, Family Circle, Salon, Oxford American, and Ms. Her short fiction has appeared in Zoetrope All-Story, McSweeney's, Black Clock, TriQuarterly, Story, Ploughshares, The Ontario Review, and North American Review, among others. She has been a regular commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. She is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside, where she has taught since 1988. In 2008 Straight received the University's Distinguished Teaching Award and is currently Director of the Master of Fine Arts Program, as well as serving on the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at the University.
On Friday afternoons when other people my age mention their evening plans, dinner or movies or concerts, I have an unwavering commitment that sounds like an excuse. Mine is not ‘I have to wash my hair,’ but, ‘I have to do my girls’ hair.’