Louise Marburg

Louise Marburg is the author of the story collections No Diving Allowed, which is the winner of the W.S. Porter Prize for Short Story Collections, and The Truth About Me, which was the winner of the Independent Press Book Award for short story collections and shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. It was also named by the San Francisco Chronicle and Entropy as a Best Book of 2017. Her third collection of stories, You Have Reached Your Destination, is forthcoming from Eastover Press in September 2022. She has been supported by the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Kenyon Writing Workshops, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. 

In a review of No Diving Allowed, Mary Volmer from Fiction Writers Review wrote, “Marburg does not glory in her characters’ flaws or paint simplistic grotesques to parade across the page for our judgment. They are complex and unstable individuals, who though guarded in public, become stripped of pretense on the page. There is no expectation that we admire them, only that we see them as human as they careen towards what Marburg calls, “tragic moments of self-awareness.”… No Diving Allowed defies the literary cult of likability; it portrays people with their worries and warts, and families with all their flaws, and dares you to love them anyway. It is a brave and satisfying book, full of truth and insight.”

In an interview with WTAW Press about The Truth About Me, Marburg revealed her process behind writing characters and it drives her stories. She shared, “I often liken what I do to acting. An actor can inhabit many characters. I think because I have known so many different “types” of people I have a lot to draw on. I watch, I listen, I eavesdrop; I depend on my intuition. And I think it’s also a matter of always having sympathy for one’s fellow man… If I don’t let my characters go almost immediately—usually after the first scene, which is when I semi-create them—I know the story is in trouble. I write very unconsciously, and am often surprised by what my characters do, and ultimately who they become. So, I have no trouble letting them go, in fact I love it: that’s the moment, for me, when the story begins.”

Her stories have appeared in Narrative, Ploughshares, The Louisville Review, The Carolina Quarterly, The Pinch, The Chicago Quarterly Review, Post Road, and many other publications. She studied design at the Kansas City Art Institute, is a graduate of New York University’s Gallatin Division, and holds an M.F.A. in Fiction from Columbia University’s School of the Arts.

A native of Baltimore, Marburg lives in New York City with her husband, the artist Charles Marburg.

Updated June 2022

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