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Biography: Mary Doria Russell

Although she has only published three novels, the critically acclaimed American author Mary Doria Russell has been the recipient of eight literary awards and nominated for two others.


Mary Doria Russell was born on the 19th of August in 1950 in Elmhurst, Illinois. She attended Sacred Heart Catholic elementary school and Glenbard East High school. She was a girl scout and an A student. Her tertiary studies consisted of cultural anthropology at University of Illinois, social anthropology at Northeastern University in Boston, and biological anthropology at the University of Michigan.

Russell earned her doctorate as a paleoanthropologist with specialties in bone biology and biomechanics. She undertook field work in Australia and Croatia, which resulted in a collection of anthropological publications, grants, and awards. She then went on to teach human gross anatomy at Case Western Reserve University.

Russell’s first foray into non-academic writing was computer manuals, which she wrote for four years before beginning her first novel.

Russell is married with one son. She and her family currently reside Cleveland, Ohio. She is a convert to Judaism, but maintains her connection to the Catholic education system with grants and contributions.

Russell has been the recipient of eight literary awards, and has been nominated for two others. Each of her novels has been highly acclaimed.




Russell’s first two novels dealt with issues within a Science fiction framework, and her third novel classes within the Historical Fiction and War genres.