Discipline: Literature – fiction

Julie Orringer

Discipline: Literature – fiction
Region: Brooklyn, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2005, 2006, 2008, 2023

Julie Orringer is a member of the board of directors of MacDowell, a writer, and lecturer. She is the author of three award-winning books: How to Breathe Underwater (Knopf, 2003); The Invisible Bridge (Knopf, 2010) based on the experiences of her family in the Holocaust and World War II, including those of her grand-uncle Alfred Tibor, who later became a well-known sculptor; and most recently The Flight Portfolio, which was adapted into the 2023 Netflix series Transatlantic, a seven-episode miniseries by Anna Winger (creator of Unorthodox). The show premiered in April 2023 and has been one of the streaming site's most popular shows.

Her stories have appeared in The Paris Review, McSweeney's, Ploughshares, Zoetrope: All-Story, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, The Best New American Voices, and The Best American Non-Required Reading, and other publications.

She received the Paris Review's Discovery and Plimpton Prizes, two Pushcart Prizes, the Yale Review Editors' Prize, Ploughshares' Cohen Award, the Northern California Book Award, and the Anne and Robert Cowan Award from the Jewish Community Endowment Fund. Her Fellowships include those from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Stegnor Fellowship at Stanford University, the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. She is a graduate of Cornell University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

During her first three MacDowell Fellowships, she worked on her novel The Invisible Bridge. At MacDowell in 2023, she worked on a new novel. Luna, Phoenix, Queen is about artistic theft, marital infidelity, memory loss, and pregnancy loss. Orringer arrived at the residency hoping to complete a first full draft of the novel. Within the first four days, during which she wrote between twelve and fourteen hours a day, Orringer finished the novel's final section, completing her draft. For the remainder of her residency, she continued to revise the work.

During her 2023 residency, she became acquainted with the work of several other Fellows including Tanya Marcuse and Janelle Vanderkelen. Through studying their work and processes, Orringer found resonances between her work and theirs. Marcuse’s photography and Vanderkellen’s videography led to a deeper, and stranger, understanding of her own work. She left MacDowell after two weeks with a near-complete revision of the novel and a clear direction for finishing work on the book.

Portrait by Christa Parrav



Julie Orringer worked in the Mansfield studio.

The Helen Coolidge Mansfield Studio was donated by graduates of the Mansfield War Service Classes for Reconstruction Aides. Helen Mansfield helped found the New York MacDowell Club. The small, shingled frame structure with stone foundation was originally fronted on the west side by a neat white picket fence and gate, a garden, and a stone pathway…

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