Courtney is a writer, professor, and editor. She holds graduate degrees from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Arizona, and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. The former managing editor of The Earth Times, she’s published fiction and nonfiction in The Rumpus, Indiana Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Common, and elsewhere, and won the 2016 American Literary Review Prize in Fiction. She’s received awards from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Center for Fiction, where she was an Emerging Writing Fellow, and she will be a MacDowell Colony Fellow in 2017. Lesser known: she got to know Aleppo, Syria, long before the city’s devastation grabbed headlines. Ten years ago, she ghostwrote an autobiography for an older Syrian Jewish man who, in 1971, escaped from an anti-Semitic regime in Aleppo with help from the Israeli Navy.
Courtney has taught writing and literature at nearly a dozen institutions, including Yale University, the College of New Jersey, the University of Pennsylvania, Allegheny College, and the University of Freiburg. One semester, she commuted among four northeastern states every week (which yielded an obscene number of train tickets and a complicated tax return). Currently she co-directs the Creative Writing Program at Drew University, where she’s a Visiting Assistant Professor. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, small sons, and a Siamese fighting fish named Fast.
She believes in the serial comma.