Laura van den Berg’s most recent book is the novel, The Third Hotel (FSG, 2018), named a Best Book of 2018 by The Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Electric Literature and Lit Hub. She is the author of two collections of stories, The Isle of Youth (FSG, 2013), What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books, 2009), and the novel Find Me (FSG, 2015). Her forthcoming collection of stories, I Hold a Wolf by the Ears, will be published in early 2020.
Laura’s honors include the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, the Bard Fiction Prize, a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, an O. Henry Award, and the Jeannette Haien Ballard Writer’s Prize, a $25,000 annual prize given to “a young writer of proven excellence in poetry or prose.” Her debut collection was selected for the Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” program, and she has twice been shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. The Isle of Youth was named a “Best Book of 2013” by over a dozen outlets, including NPR, The Boston Globe, and O, The Oprah Magazine. Find Me was selected as a “Best Book of 2015” by NPR, Time Out New York, and BuzzFeed, and longlisted for the 2016 International Dylan Thomas Prize.
Her stories have appeared in Conjunctions, Freeman’s, The Kenyon Review, American Short Fiction, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and One Story, and have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. Her criticism and essays have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, O, The Oprah Magazine, BOMB Magazine, and Vogue.com.
In a conversation with Tin House, Laura discussed her writing process for The Third Hotel: ”In practical terms, when I’m working on a novel I try and keep up as consistent a practice as possible—working every day ideally, though I take “working” to also mean thinking and making notes and reading connected material (or watching horror films!). I think it is critical to stay in close contact with the project, so I am putting new words down, progressing in that way, and also so that the subconscious stays activated, as the most important material, I find, rises from that more mysterious and submerged realm.”
Laura has recently taught creative writing in the M.F.A. Program at Columbia University, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She is a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Fiction at Harvard University and also teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She is currently at work on her next collection of stories, tentatively titled Aftermath.
Born and raised in Florida, she now lives in Cambridge, MA with her husband, the writer Paul Yoon, and their dog, Oscar.
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