Anna Badkhen is the author of seven books, most recently Bright Unbearable Reality, longlisted for the 2022 National Book Award and for the 2023 Jan Michalski Prize for Literature. Her awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Barry Lopez Visiting Writer in Ethics and Community Fellowship, and the Joel R. Seldin Award from Psychologists for Social Responsibility for writing about civilians in war zones. Essays in New York Review of Books, Granta, Harper’s, The Paris Review, Emergence, Orion, the New York Times. Fiction in AGNI, Zyzzyva, Conjunctions, The Common, Scalawag. Badkhen was born in the Soviet Union and is a US citizen.
Bright Unbearable Reality
Called a “chronicler of a world on the move” by The New York Review of Books, Anna Badkhen seeks what separates and binds us at a time when one in seven people has left their birthplace, while a pandemic dictates the direst season of rupture in humankind’s remembering. Her new essay collection, Bright Unbearable Reality, addresses the human condition in the era of such unprecedented dislocation, contemplates the roles of memory and wonder in how we relate to one another, and asks how we can soberly and responsibly counter despair and continue to develop—or at least imagine—an emotional vocabulary against depravity.