Elif Batuman is an American author, academic, and journalist. She was born in 1977 in New York City to Turkish parents, and grew up in New Jersey. She graduated from Harvard College, and received her doctorate in comparative literature from Stanford University, where she taught. While in graduate school, Batuman studied the Uzbek language in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. In 2010, she published her first book, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them. The book was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a runner-up for the Pen/Diamondstein-Spielvogel Award. It was also longlisted for the 2011 Guardian First Book Award and translated into several languages. Batuman is a regular contributor to the New Yorker, and also writes to the Paris Review, Harper Magazine and N+1. She was writer-in-residence at Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey from 2010 to 2013. Now she lives in New York.