Richard Russo (born July 15 1949 in Johnstown, New York) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist. Born in Johnstown and raised in nearby Gloversville, he earned a Bachelor's degree, a Master of Fine Arts degree, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Arizona, which he attended from 1967 through 1979. He was teaching in the English department at Southern Illinois University Carbondale when his first novel, Mohawk was published. Much of his work has been semi-autobiographical, from his upbringing in upstate New York to his time teaching Literature at Colby College. He now lives and writes in Camden, Maine.
His novel Empire Falls, published in 2001, won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He has written five other novels: Mohawk, The Risk Pool, Nobody's Fool, Straight Man, and Bridge of Sighs, as well as a short story collection, The Whore's Child. Russo co-wrote the 1998 film Twilight with director Robert Benton, who also adapted and directed Russo's Nobody's Fool into a 1994 film of the same name, starring Paul Newman. Russo wrote the teleplay for the HBO adaptation of Empire Falls, the screenplay for the 2005 film Ice Harvest and the screenplay for the 2005 Niall Johnson film Keeping Mum, which starred Rowan Atkinson. Russo's novel, Bridge of Sighs, was released on 25 September 2007 and Random House released his most recent novel, That Old Cape Magic, on 4 August 2009.