Melissa Pritchard

Melissa is the author of eight works of fiction, a biography and a book of essays. Consistently cited or reprinted in The Pushcart Prize, Best American Short Stories and O.Henry Prize Stories, her work appears in anthologies, textbooks and online sites like Byliner, Longform and Longreads. She is the recipient of the Flannery O’Connor, Carl Sandburg and Janet H. Kafka Awards. Her stories have been performed by WordTheatre actors in New York City and Los Angeles. She has been published in over seventy journals, including The Paris ReviewO, the Oprah Magazine and the New York Times.

Melissa's most recent work, A Solemn Pleasure, is a collection of essays sharing her passion for writing and storytelling. In an essay entitled “Spirit and Vision” Melissa poses the question: “Why write?” Her answer reverberates throughout A Solemn Pleasure, presenting an undeniable case for both the power of language and the nurturing constancy of the writing life. Bret Anthony Johnston, director of Creative Writing at Harvard University says A Solemn Pleasure is “Gorgeous and moving... Each of these essays confirms that to write is to think and feel, to take part in the profound and sacred act of witness.”

Melissa teaches at Arizona State University and this summer will be teaching creative writing in Thailand through the Piper Writing House. As a journalist, she has traveled to India, Afghanistan, Ecuador and Ethiopia, and in 2009, established the Ashton Goodman Grant, working with the Afghan Women’s Writing Project to provide funding for the education and literacy of Afghan women and girls. She lives in Phoenix with her low, short-legged muse, a miniature dachshund named Simon.

"No one is quite so brilliant at voicing the all-but-impossible-to-track interior lives of the most complex human beings as is Melissa Pritchard…there is so much energy and inventiveness! Her linguistic flexibility is stunning, comic and gravely substantial.”
— Brad Watson, author of Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives and The Heaven of Mercury

"Pritchard is a writer of sensibility. Her unique gift is the ability to interweave the resonances of consciousness—memory, intelligence, emotion—with those of a historical time and a powerful sense of place, so that character emerges as a coherent, credible, internal voice uttering a sensual flow of language, both lush and precise.”
—Stuart Dybek, author of The Coast of Chicago