Barbara Klein Moss

Barbara Klein Moss is the author of a collection of stories, Little Edens (Norton, 2004) and a novel, The Language of Paradise (Norton, 2015), which was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.  Her fiction has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and has appeared in New England Review, The Georgia Review, The Missouri Review, Southwest Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Crazyhorse. Her stories have also been shortlisted for the O. Henry Prize and The Best American Short Stories and nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize. She has received fellowships in fiction from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bread Loaf, and MacDowell, and three Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council.

Both the story collection and the novel deal with the oases of perfection that people create in their lives and minds and the serpents that subtly inhabit them. Of the collection, Joan Silber wrote, “The jewel-like stories in Little Edens have much to say about the dazzling edifices of the imagination and the miraculous power of these constructions both to liberate and entrap. Moss’s cast of keenly attuned characters step into invented Edens, before our eyes, and often at their own peril.”

In The Language of Paradise, an obsessed seminarian constructs a faux Eden in a greenhouse in a radical experiment to discover the first language spoken by Adam and Eve. Andrea Barrett wrote, “Compelling, powerful, lit by art and language, this novel of ideas embodies in the struggles of a passionate family a great intellectual and spiritual conflict . . . Moss’s brilliantly realized characters will stay with me for a long time.”

Moss wrote for many years, even carrying a half-finished novel around in a tote bag, but never submitted her work until, in midlife, she attended the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. Her fiction often begins with images: a glimpse of a man on a bus, a painting in a museum, a visual memory that suddenly surfaces. Out of these fragments whole lives emerge. She is currently working on stories to accompany a novella.

She lives with her husband in Annapolis, Maryland.

Story Contributions: