Chris Adrian

Chris Adrian

Fellow: Awarded 2009
Field of Study: Fiction

Competition: US & Canada

Chris Adrian is not only an author and divinity student but also a Fellow in pediatric hematology and oncology at the University of California, San Francisco.

After receiving a B.A. in English (1993) from the University of Florida, he attended the University of Iowa as a Teaching/Writing Fellow, earning his M.F.A. there in 1995. His stories were soon appearing in such prominent literary journals as The Paris Review, Story, Zoetrope, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and McSweeney’s; “Every Night for a Thousand Years” was selected for inclusion in Best American Short Stories 1998. In 2001, Gob’s Grief (Broadway Books), his first novel, was published to critical acclaim, and he received an NEH fiction grant.

That same year, he embarked on his medical career, earning his M.D. from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2001; he was a resident at UCSF (2001-05), and an attending physician at Children’s Hospital in Boston (2005-08) before returning to UCSF to take up his current position. Concurrent with his extensive medical training, he was also a student at Harvard’s Divinity School.

His everyday involvement with life and death, hope and grief, and his interest in the afterlife and the spiritual, inform his writing and give it a uniqueness that continually wins rave reviews. In 2007 Esquire chose him as one of the best and the brightest in the arts, and his novel The Children’s Hospital (McSweeney Books, 2006) earned him a place among the finalists for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award.  A Better Angel (Farrar Strauss, 2008), a collection of some of his previously published short stories, was selected as one of the best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review.

During his Guggenheim term, Dr. Adrian will be working on The Great Night, a retelling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, set in modern-day San Francisco.


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