B.A. in Comparative Religions, University of California, Santa Barbara, M.F.A., Vermont CollegeBio
Professor of English and Women's Studies at Arizona State University, Melissa Pritchard is the nationally acclaimed author of four short story collections: Spirit Seizures, The Instinct for Bliss, Disappearing Ingenue and The Odditorium; four novels: Phoenix, Selene of the Spirits, Late Bloomer and V (forthcoming); as well as a biography: Devotedly Always, Virginia: The Life of Virginia Galvin Piper. A recipient of numerous prestigious literary awards, including the Flannery O'Connor Award, the Carl Sandburg Award, the James Phelan Award, the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for best fiction by an American woman and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Writers Voice YMCA, and Brown University's Howard Foundation, Pritchard's fiction has appeared widely in such literary journals as: The Southern Review, Boulevard, Open City, A Public Space, Ecotone, Gulf Coast, The Gettysburg Review, Conjunctions, and The Paris Review. Her stories are frequently cited and reprinted in anthologies such as: Pushcart Prize XX and XXVI; Prize Stories: The O Henry Awards; Best American Short Stories; The Prentice Hall Anthology of Women's Literature; Best of the West; Great Contemporary Ghost Stories; Mothers: Twenty Stories of Contemporary Motherhood; and American Gothic Tales, as well as college textbooks such as: Deepening Fiction: A Practical Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Writers; Behind the Short Story: From First to Final Draft; and A Garden of Forking Paths: An Anthology for Creative Writers. Her non-fiction has appeared in The Collagist, Conjunctions, The Gettysburg Review, O, The Oprah Magazine, among other journals, magazines and anthologies.
Pritchard has received the Claudia Ortese Memorial Lecture Prize in North American Literature from the University of Florence and her fiction has been translated into Spanish and Italian. Her novel Selene of the Spirits was selected for the Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” series and her short story collection, Disappearing Ingenue, featured in Doubleday's “Fiction for the Rest of Us” series, was chosen by Alan Cheuse for National Public Radio's 2002 Annual Summer Reading List. Her novel Late Bloomer, published by Doubleday in 2004, has been called “brilliant” by Publishers Weekly in a starred review, “ravishing” by Vanity Fair magazine, and was named a 2004 Best Book of the Year by the Chicago Tribune. Her newest collection of stories, The Odditorium, received rave nation-wide reviews and was an Oprah Book of the Week, as well as a San Francisco Chronicle's Reader's Choice.
She has been nominated for and received numerous service awards at ASU, where she has taught since 1992. She was a Hawthornden Fellow in 2008 in Scotland, a Bogliasco Fellow in 2011 in Italy and a fellow at the Lavigny Chateau, a writer's residency, in 2012 in Switzerland. In 2009, after returning from Afghanistan where she was an embedded war journalist, she founded the Ashton Goodman Fund, to raise money for the Afghan Women's Writing Project. In May, 2011, Melissa directed a staged reading of "Out of Silence" at ASU, with MFA students reading poems by Afghan women and girls, to raise money for AWWP. She is currently working on journalism pieces on child slavery, global de-mining efforts and women's bookclubs in Arizona prisons.
For more information, please see her website at www.melissapritchard.com