Rilla Askew

New York, United States

Rilla Askew is the author of four novels and a book of stories. Her first novel, The Mercy Seat, was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Dublin IMPAC Prize, and received the Oklahoma Book Award and the Western Heritage Award in 1998. Fire in Beulah, Askew’s acclaimed novel about the Tulsa Race Riot, received the 2002 American Book Award and was selected as the centennial book for Oklahoma’s One Book One State program. Her novel Harpsong received seven literary awards including the Oklahoma Book Award, the Willa Cather award from Women Writing the West, and the Violet Crown Award from the Writers League of Texas. Her new novel, Kind of Kin, centers on Oklahoma’s anti-illegal immigration law and was published by Ecco Press in January. Askew received a 2009 Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is a former Fellow at Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbertide, Italy, and was a featured reader at the 2008 International Chinese and World Literature Conference in Beijing.




  • Kind of Kin , Ecco Press (January )
  • Harpsong , University of Oklahoma Press (April 2007)
  • Fire in Beulah , Viking Penguin (January 2001)
  • The Mercy Seat , Viking Penguin (September 1997)
  • Strange Business , Viking Penguin (July 1992)


  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from Universiy of Tulsa (1980)
  • Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College (1989)

Genres of Interest

Fiction, Creative nonfiction, Playwriting, Screenwriting