Binnie Kirshenbaum


is the author of six novels and one short story collection. She has twice won the Critic's Choice Award and the Discovery Award. She was one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists and one of Paper magazine's Beautiful People. Her books have been selected as Favorite Books of the Year by The Chicago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, Newsweek Magazine, Vogue and National Public Radio. Her work has been translated into seven languages. She is a professor and Fiction Director at Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts.

I haven’t hated a book this much since Mark Twain’s The Mysterious Stranger.
— anonymous Amazon reviewer on The Scenic Route

Praise for Binnie Kirshenbaum


"Not many young female novelists can deal with sex, the appetite for it, and the loss of such appetite, with such candor, lack of self-protection, and humor as Binnie Kirshenbaum."

—Norman Mailer

"Just when you think it is safe to laugh, she turns the tables on you. The funnier her books get, the more poignant they are."
—Tova Mirvis

"This author (Kirshenbaum) is indeed a humorist, even a comedian, a sort of stand-up tragic." 
—Richard Howard

"For years, Binnie Kirshenbaum has quietly been one of the funniest and smartest writers we have in the U.S. . . . her books have razor sharp teeth and surprising depths."
—Jessa Crispin

". . . . a novelist who gracefully defies classification"
—Richard Ford


"Binnie Kirshenbaum is a rare and remarkable writer."
—Michael Cunningham

". . . the younger sister of Philip Roth. . . ." 
—Carlin Romano

"A tremendous talent. Her novels are sexy, intelligent, complex, and provocative; they press against your heart the way old lovers do."
—Junot Diaz

". . . Kirshenbaum, the prolific writer of novels and stories written with wit and serious moral concern . . . is a presence to be reckoned with. One of her charms is that vestigial ladylike manner of a young woman who deports herself properly, aims for grace. . . . (A) novelist of enormous cultural reach. . . . the voice of a writer, known, or on the endless journey to knowing herself."
—Maureen Howard



Tuesday, August 20th, 7-9 pm

Rough Draft Bar and Books

Reading and Discussion

Kingston, New York 

Monday, September 9th, 7pm

Magic City Books / A Booksmart Event

Reading and Discussion

221 East Archer Street

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tuesday, September 10th, 7pm
Reading and Discussion

Hugo House 

1634 11th Avenue 

Seattle, Washington

Wednesday, September 11th, 6-9pm

Voice & Dialogue Workshop 

Hugo House 1

634 11th Avenue

Seattle, Washington

Sunday, September 22nd, Time TBD 
Brooklyn Book Fair

Panel Discussion: The Comedy of Tragedywith Ryan Chapman (Riots I Have Known), Rawi Hage (Beirut Hellfire Society), Binnie Kirshenbaum (Rabbits for Food). Moderated by Rick Moody



New York Magazine

Publisher's Weekly


New York Times Magazine

Los Angeles Times

Esquire Magazine

Imitation, Influence. . .Coincidence. A literary photographic exhibition, at the Boston Public Library







Binnie Kirshenbaum’s mother was a teacher who said, “You wanna write? Be a teacher, too, and you can have the summer to do your writing or whatever it is…You can’t be a waitress for the rest of your life.” Binnie Kirshenbaum said: “I would rather be a waitress for the rest of my life than spend a single day as a teacher.”

Waitressing left a great deal of brain space to focus on stories, which she would set down in a thin vinyl notebook by night. A few years later these little notebooks were published into a collection of short stories.


Now she was a published writer and a waitress. When she published her first novel, she hung up her waitress apron and got married to someone who had a job with health insurance.

In 1998, after publishing her second novel, she was invited to teach a workshop in the MFA program at Columbia University. Teach? No. She was never going to be a teacher; it was practically a credo. But to teach a fiction workshop at Columbia was tempting, very tempting. She agonized. Her husband wisely said, “Say yes. If you hate it, you can quit.” In 2002, she became a Professor of Professional Practice and was then promoted to full professor. She didn’t hate it.

In 2018, she was awarded the Columbia University Presidential Teaching Award.