Ben Marcus


Ben Marcus (born 1967) is the author of four books of fiction. His latest book, Leaving the Sea: Stories, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in January 2014.

His stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in publications including Harper'sThe New YorkerThe Paris Review,GrantaThe New York TimesGQSalonMcSweeney'sTime, and Conjunctions. He is also the fiction editor of The American Reader.


Marcus grew up in Austin, the son of a retired mathematician and the literary critic and Virginia Woolf scholar Jane Marcus.[1] He received his bachelor's degree in philosophy from New York University and an MFA from Brown University.[2] His father is Jewish and his mother is of Irish Catholic background; Marcus had a Bar Mitzvah.[3]

Marcus is a Professor at Columbia University School of the Arts, and he lives in New York City. He is married to the writer Heidi Julavits.[4] He is the editor of The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, and the fiction editor at The American Reader. For several years he was the fiction editor of Fence.


Marcus' influences include Virginia WoolfFranz KafkaDonald BarthelmeRichard YatesFlannery O'ConnorThomas BernhardPadgett PowellJ. M. Coetzee,Kobo AbeGary Lutz, and George Saunders.

Awards and honours[edit]



Other works[edit]


  • Chemical Seuss, from
  • Thomas Bernhard, from
  • On the Lyric Essay, from
  • Why experimental fiction threatens to destroy publishing, Jonathan Franzen, and life as we know it: A correction, a response to an essay by Mr. Franzen, from