Courtney writes fiction and nonfiction. She won the 2018 Sunday Times Short Story Award, the most valuable prize in the world for a short story, besting entries from 38 countries. She was the second-ever woman to place first, following Yiyun Li, and joins a winners list that includes Junot Díaz and Anthony Doerr. (Read more about 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 writing has appeared in various venues, including Longreads, The Southern Review, Indiana Review, The Common, Los Angeles Review of Books, and the McSweeney’s anthology, Indelible in the Hippocampus: Writings from the Me Too Movement. She was listed as a Notable essayist in Best American Essays 2018, selected by Hilton Als, and Best American Essays 2019, selected by Rebecca Solnit. In earlier incarnations, she was an illustrator, 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. with honors from the University of Pennsylvania. She has taught at nearly a dozen institutions, including Yale University, The Smithsonian Institution, 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. In summer 2020, you can study with her on the stunning island of Thasos through Writing Workshops in Greece. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.