Rivka Galchen was born in Toronto but grew up largely in Oklahoma, where her father was a professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma and her mother, a computer programmer at the National Severe Storms Laboratory.
Her writing, both fiction and nonfiction, has been published in The New Yorker, Harper's, the New York Times, and elsewhere. Her debut novel, Atmospheric Disturbances (2008) was a finalist for the Mercantile Library's John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize, the Canadian Writers' Trust's 2008 Fiction Prize, and Canada's Governor General's Award, and was awarded the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Galchen's short-story collection, American Innovations, was published in 2014 and received the Danuta Gleed Award for Short Stories.
Galchen lives in New York, where she teaches writing at Columbia University.