Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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ZZ Packer

ZZ Packer

Former Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs


ZZ Packer was born in Chicago and raised in Atlanta and Louisville, Kentucky. She graduated from Yale, and afterward received degrees from Johns Hopkins and The Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. She has been a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford, a Hodder Fellow at Princeton, and a Lillian Golay Knafel fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard.

Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Story, Ploughshares, GRANTA, Zoetrope All-Story, Best American Short Stories 2000, Best American Short Stories 2003 and, most recently, 100 Years of The Best American Short Stories published in 2016.

Her non-fiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, The Believer, The American Prospect, The Oxford American, The Guardian, The New York Times Book Review, Newsweek Digital Online and The New Yorker Online. She has appeared on MSNBC as a Huffington Post contributor.

She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a Whiting Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and the American Academy of Berlin Prize (postponed). In 2007 GRANTA Magazine named her one of America’s Best Young Novelists. Her collection of stories Drinking Coffee Elsewhere won the Commonwealth First Fiction Award, an ALEX Award and was a National Book Award 5 under 35 winner. It became a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner award, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2004, and was selected for the Today Show Book Club by John Updike.