Rachel Howard is a writer of fiction, personal essays, memoir, and dance criticism. Her debut novel, The Risk of Us, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt April 9, 2019. Dept. of Speculation author Jenny Offill describes it as “an emotionally complex and amazingly suspenseful novel about love and fear.” Jamie Quatro, author of I Want to Show You More and Fire Sermon, said “I’ve never read anything so beautiful about the intricacies of adoption—the process itself, and the seldom-talked-about aftermath. The prose is elegant and compressed; I often had to stop reading to catch my breath. Anyone who has ever loved a child, in any capacity, should read this book.”
Photo by Emmet Cullen.
Rachel’s first book was a memoir, The Lost Night. She was interviewed about the book by Ira Glass for an episode of This American Life; you can listen to that interview here. She is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and a fellow of the MacDowell Colony. Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in Gulf Coast, Zyzzyva, Waxwing (nominated for a Pushcart Prize), O Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, Berfrois, the Arroyo Literary Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere.
As a dance critic, her arts and dance writing has appeared in The New Yorker Online, the New York Times, Ballet Review, Fjord Review, and the Hudson Review, among other publications. From 2003-2009, she served as the lead dance critic of the San Francisco Chronicle.
She currently lives in Nevada City, CA, where she founded Yuba Writers’ Workshops, which has offered donation-based community classes such as “Reading Chekhov for Our Times.” She runs a reading series, Yuba Lit, now a fiscally sponsored project of the Nevada County Arts Council. Rachel also teaches through Stanford Continuing Studies, where she created a “Writing About Spirituality” course, with readings from a multiplicity of faith traditions, which she has now taught four times.
She is currently at work on short fiction, and a memoir about learning to sing at The Alley piano bar in Oakland, CA.