Born in New York City in 1974, Nicole Krauss discovered her passion for writing at an early age and began writing poetry in her teenage years. In 1992 she enrolled in Stanford University, where she majored in English and worked closely with Joseph Brodsky, the renowned Russian-American poet and essayist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987. Krauss graduated with honors, winning several undergraduate prizes for her poetry as well as the Dean's Award for academic achievement.
In 1996 Krauss was awarded a Marshall Scholarship, which gave her two years’ fully funded study at any university in the United Kingdom. She chose to enroll in a master’s program at Oxford University, and selected American artist Joseph Cornell as the subject for her thesis. For her second year she transferred to London’s prestigious Courtauld Institute, where she wrote a thesis on the seventeenth-century Dutch artist, Rembrandt; his self-portrait is mentioned in her second novel The History of Love.
After the death of her mentor, Joseph Brodsky, Krauss produced a documentary about his life’s work for BBC Radio 3 (1999). The project took her to Saint Petersburg, his home town and the setting for his essay, In a Room and a Half.
Krauss went on to publish her first novel, Man Walks Into a Room, in 2002. The book was well received and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for First Fiction.
In 2005, she published her international bestseller, The History of Love, which received widespread critical acclaim. The novel won the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and France’s Prix du Meilleur Livre Ėtranger, and was short-listed for the coveted Orange, Médicis, and Femina prizes. The History of Love was named the number one book of the year by Amazon.com.
Krauss draws on her own family story in The History of Love. Her maternal grandparents were born in Germany and Ukraine, and immigrated to London; her paternal grandparents were originally from Hungary and the then Polish city of Slonim, and they immigrated to New York City. Krauss dedicates The History of Love to her four grandparents.
Her third novel, Great House, was published in 2010, and she was named one of the twenty best writers under 40 by The New Yorker in the same year. She lives with her husband, the author Jonathan Safran Foer, and their two children in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York.