Author of Missionaries.
Teaches at Fairfield University MFA.


“The beautiful, violent and almost perfect new novel by Phil Klay.”

LA Times


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Phil Klay is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. His short story collection Redeployment won the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction and the National Book Critics' Circle John Leonard Prize for best debut work in any genre, and was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of 2014 by The New York Times.

His nonfiction work won the George W. Hunt, S.J., Prize for Journalism, Arts & Letters in the category of Cultural & Historical Criticism in 2018. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and the Brookings Institution's Brookings Essay series. He is on the Board of Arts in the Armed Forces and he currently teaches fiction at Fairfield University.



“[Klay] shares with Joseph Conrad, an obvious lodestar, a command of the complexity and precariousness of an interconnected global order. He shares with Greene an awareness ...

Washington Examiner

“Building on exhaustive research and a seemingly endless capacity to develop rich, psychologically complex characters, Klay captures the wretchedness of neglected Colombian villages...

Seattle Times

Klay is brilliant on things like what it’s like to walk through a city after a recent bombing. He is very fine on what he calls the soundtrack of war: ‘the rasp of the Velcro on magazine pouches opening, the crunch...

New York Times

With Missionaries Klay, winner of the National Book Award in 2014, has dropped a novel on us of a muscular veracity as terrifying and important as it is rare in contemporary writing.” ...

The Millions

An Amazon Best Book of October 2020:
An ambitious novel that follows the participants of war in Afghanistan and Colombia, Missionaries is like a punch to the heart and the mind. Read this for its intimate and expansive exploration of what it takes to fight, to live, and to survive, and how war can provide purpose and destroy it.

Al Woodworth, Amazon Book Review