Danielle Aquiline

Aviya Kushner

Poetry, Spirituality, Theology

Aviya Kushner grew up in a Hebrew-speaking home in New York. For as long as she can remember, she has been fascinated by language, culture, and belief.

Her debut poetry collection, WOLF LAMB BOMB (Orison Books), a conversation with The Book of Isaiah, was named a New and Noteworthy book by The New York Times and was the winner of the 2021 Chicago Review of Books Award and a Foreword INDIES Finalist.

Her first nonfiction book, The Grammar of God: A Journey Into the Words and Worlds of the Bible (Spiegel & Grau/ Penguin Random House) was a National Jewish Book Award finalist, a Sami Rohr Prize finalist, one of Publishers’ Weekly’s Top 10 Religion Stories of 2015, and a National Jewish Book Club pick for 2018-19.

She is The Forward’s language columnist and writes On Being and Timelessness, a newsletter about literature, translation, and ideas on Substack. Her writing has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Wilson Quarterly, Longreads, The Gettysburg Review, The Chicago Tribune and Zoetrope: All-Story, and her poetry chapbook Eve and All the Wrong Men was published by Dancing Girl Press.

She is an associate professor at Columbia College Chicago, where she directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing.

Festival Years: 2024