Mikhail Iossel was born in Leningrad, U.S.S.R., where he worked as an electromagnetic engineer and belonged to a circle of underground ("samizdat") writers. He immigrated to the United States in 1986. After receiving a master’s degree in English/creative writing from the University of New Hampshire, he was awarded a Wallace Stegner fellowship in fiction at Stanford University. Subsequently he taught creative writing, both on the undergraduate and graduate levels, at the University of Minnesota, New York University, the New School, St. Lawrence University, Union College and currently is on the writing program faculty of the Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.
Iossel had numerous publications in "samizdat" magazines in the former Soviet Union. He is the author of Every Hunter Wants to Know, a collection of stories (W.W. Norton), and co-editor with Jeff Parker of Amerika: Russian Writers View the United States (Dalkey Archive, 2004), a book of essays; and "Rasskazy," an anthology of contemporary Russian writers' short fiction. His stories have been published in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad, translated in several foreign languages, anthologized in Best American Short Stories and elsewhere. He was the recipient of the NEA (1993) and the Guggenheim Foundation fellowships (1999). Iossel is the founder and executive director of the Summer Literary Seminars, Inc., program – one of the world's largest international literary conferences (St. Petersburg, Russia; Nairobi-Lamu, Kenya; Vilnius, Lithuania; Montreal, Canada).