Marie-Helene Bertino’s debut novel 2 A.M. AT THE CAT’S PAJAMAS, was a Barnes & Noble Fall ’14 Discover Great New Writers pick and an NPR Best Book of 2014, among others. Her collection of short stories SAFE AS HOUSES was the recipient of The Iowa Short Fiction Award (judged by Jim Shepard), named an Outstanding Collection by The Story Prize and long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Story Prize. Awards include the O. Henry Prize (2016), a Pushcart Prize and two Pushcart special mentions (2007, 2011, 2017), The Mississippi Review Story Prize (2007), and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Hedgebrook Writers Colony, and NYC’s The Center for Fiction. She has been featured on Symphony Space NYC’s “Selected Shorts” radio program and is an Editor-at-Large at Catapult.
Marie-Helene’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Tin House, Epoch, Granta, Guernica, Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, among others, and anthologized in The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Pushcart Prize Anthology XXXIII, Mississippi Review’s Anthology 30, Gigantic The First 5 Years, and Gunzo‘s Anthology of American Story Writers (Japan). Her creative non-fiction has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and the Lonely Planet anthology BETTER THAN FICTION, among others. Find a complete list here.
Marie-Helene teaches in the Creative Writing Program at NYU and the low-residency M.F.A. program at the Institute for American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe.
She has worked as a biographer for people living with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
Her favorite Monkee is Mickey Dolenz. Her favorite Hepburn is Audrey.
In Philadelphia, she sang in a band named after a Jimmy Stewart movie. In New York, she was an original music writer for The Deli Magazine, and once attended/ reviewed 26 rock shows in 4 days.
She thinks you can tell a lot about people from print interviews and also by knowing them.
This is her story about Bob Dylan, recommended by Jim Shepard.
Once while playing volleyball she went chasing after the ball, fell down a hill, and crashed into a beehive. She was stung multiple times but finished the game. Her team won and for her perseverance she was awarded Camper of The Year. This was at leadership camp, where they teach you to get ten people from one end of a field to another without touching the ground using only a chair and a 2×4.
She doesn’t get the whole “living a life of quiet desperation” thing. If she has to be desperate, she’s at least going to be loud about it.
She keeps thinking about what Rebecca said, there is nothing a woman can go through that can’t be beautiful.
On a grade school softball team, her nickname was “Peanut.”
She thinks you look great today.