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About Melissa Pritchard

Melissa Pritchard is the nationally renowned author of four short story collections: The Odditorium, Disappearing Ingenue, The Instinct for Bliss, and Spirit Seizures, and four novels, Palmerino, Late Bloomer, Selene of the Spirits, and Phoenix. She is also the author of Devotedly, Virginia, a biography of Arizona philanthropist Virginia Galvin Piper.

Spirit Seizures, a New York Times Notable Book, received both the Flannery O’Connor and Carl Sandburg Awards. The Instinct for Bliss, also a New York Times Notable Book, received the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, and Disappearing Ingenue, a Doubleday “Fiction for the Rest of Us,” selection, was chosen to appear on National Public Radio’s 2002 Summer Reading List. The Odditorium, selected as an Oprah Winfrey "Book of the Week," received rave reviews nationally and was also a Library Journal and San Francisco Chronicle Book of the Year, 2012. Her short stories are frequently anthologized and cited in Prize Stories: The O.Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, Best of the West, Best American Short Stories, the Prentice Hall Anthology of Women’s Literature and numerous other anthologies and college textbooks.

Selene of the Spirits was a Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, and Late Bloomer, a 2004 Chicago Tribune Best Books of the Year selection, described as “ravishing” in Vanity Fair, received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly. Palmerino (Bellevue Literary Press,) a "Top Title to Pick Up Now," in O, The Oprah Magazine, April, 2014; a Lamba Literary "New and Noteworthy LGBT Book of 2014;" and a Publisher's Weekly "Big Indie Book of 2013" has been described in reviews as "lush, captivating, seductive."

Her fiction has appeared in over sixty renowned literary journals, including The Paris Review, A Public Space, Agni, Ecotone, The Southern Review, Gulf Coast, Conjunctions, Gettysburg Review and Image: Art, Faith, Mystery. Her book reviews, essays, and journalism pieces have appeared in The Wilson Quarterly, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, the Nation, the New York Times Book Review and Chicago Tribune Books. Her essay, “A Solemn Pleasure,” published in Conjunctions by guest editor, David Shields, has been reprinted in The Inevitable: Contemporary Writers Confront Death, W.W. Norton, 2011.

A recipient of numerous awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Howard Foundation at Brown University, the Illinois Arts Council, Writer’s Voice YMCA, Scotland’s Hawthornden Castle, the Bogliasco Foundation (Liguria, Italy), and the Ledig-Rowohlt Foundation (Chateau de Lavigny, Switzerland), Melissa teaches at Arizona State University and has served as judge for The Flannery O’Connor Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award. She is also the founder of The Ashton Goodman Grant, working with The Afghan Women’s Writing Project to provide funding for the education and literacy of Afghan women and girls.

A 2012 recipient of the Arizona State University Alumni Association's prestigious Founders' Day Teaching Award and the 2011 ASU Faculty Achievement Award in the category of Excellence in Scholarly and Creative Activities, Melissa has been teaching creative writing at ASU since 1992. In 2011, she was a keynote speaker at the annual conference on American literature at the Centro di Studi Americani, Rome, Italy, sponsored by the Italian Association for North American Studies. In September 2012, she read from her forthcoming novel, Palmerino, at the first International Seminar on Vernon Lee, in Florence, Italy. Several of her books have been translated into Italian and Spanish.

Melissa Pritchard


Author photo by John Beckett