Discipline: Literature – fiction, Literature – nonfiction

Melissa Febos

Discipline: Literature – fiction, Literature – nonfiction
Region: Brooklyn, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2010, 2011, 2014, 2021

Melissa Febos is the author of the memoir, Whip Smart (St. Martin’s Press 2010), and the essay collection, Abandon Me (Bloomsbury 2017), which was a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist, a Publishing Triangle Award finalist, an Indie Next Pick, and was widely named a Best Book of 2017. Her third book, Girlhood (Bloomsbury 2021), was a national bestseller. A craft book, Body Work, finished during Melissa's 2021 residency at MacDowell, explores the political and personally transformative potential of autobiographical writing, and the intersections of the spiritual, trauma recovery, and aesthetics. It is forthcoming in March 2022 from Catapult. Febos is the recipient of the Jeanne Córdova Nonfiction Award from LAMBDA Literary and the Sarah Verdone Writing Award from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and has been awarded other prizes and fellowships from MacDowell, Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, The Barbara Deming Memorial Foundation, The BAU Institute at the Camargo Foundation, Ragdale, Prairie Schooner, The Sewanee Review, and others. Her essays have appeared in Tin House, Granta, The Paris Review, The Sun, McSweeney’s, The Believer, The Yale Review, The New York Times Magazine, and elsewhere. She is an associate professor at the University of Iowa, where she teaches in the Nonfiction Writing Program.

Portrait by Beowulf Sheehan


Phi Beta

Melissa Febos worked in the Phi Beta studio.

Funded by the Phi Beta Fraternity, a national professional fraternity of music and speech founded in 1912, Phi Beta Studio was built between 1929–1931 of granite quarried on the MacDowell grounds. The small studio is a simple in design, but displays a pleasing combination of materials with its granite walls and colorful slate roofing. Inside is…

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