Courtney writes fiction and nonfiction. She won the 2018 Sunday Times Short Story Award, the most valuable international prize for short fiction, besting over 1,100 entries from 38 countries. She was the second-ever woman to win, following Yiyun Li, and joins a winners list that includes Anthony Doerr, Junot Díaz, and Adam Johnson. (Read a recent interview with Courtney about all this here.) Other honors include an Emerging Writers Fellowship from The Center for Fiction, the Susan Atefat Prize in Creative Nonfiction from Arts & Letters, a Bread Loaf Writers' Conference scholarship, and two residency fellowships from The MacDowell Colony. Courtney’s prose has appeared in various venues, including The Southern Review, Indiana Review, American Literary Review, The Rumpus, and Los Angeles Review of Books, and is forthcoming in the McSweeney’s #MeToo anthology, Indelible in the Hippocampus. She was named a “notable” essayist in Best American Essays 2018. In earlier incarnations, she was a graceless waitress, a portraitist, a journalist, and a copy editor at Rolling Stone.
Courtney holds graduate degrees from the University of Arizona and The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She has taught at nearly a dozen institutions, including Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Allegheny College, and the University of Freiburg in Germany. Currently she directs the Creative Writing Program at Drew University, where she's an Assistant Professor of English, and coordinates the Writers@Drew reading series. She is also the 2019 Prose Fellow at Writing Workshops in Greece. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.