Marie-Helene Bertino is the author of the novel 2 A.M. AT THE CAT’S PAJAMAS and the story collection SAFE AS HOUSES. Her work was a Barnes & Noble Fall ’14 Discover Great New Writers pick and an NPR Best Book of 2014, and has received The O. Henry Prize, The Pushcart Prize and two Pushcart special mentions, The Iowa Short Fiction Award (judged by Jim Shepard), The Mississippi Review Prize, Outstanding Collection by The Story Prize and inclusion on the long list of the Frank O’Connor International Story Prize, 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. She is the current Frank O’Connor International Short Story Fellow at The Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Ireland, where she is teaching at University College Cork and finishing a new novel and collection.
Ordinarily, Marie-Helene teaches fiction at NYU and in 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).
She was recently moved in spite of herself by this episode of Chef’s Table with Francis Mallman. Can chefs be artists?
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. 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 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.