Melissa Pritchard is the author of eight books of fiction, a biography and a book of essays. Her short story collection, Spirit Seizures, won the Flannery O’Connor Award, the Carl Sandburg Literary Award, the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice and Notable Book of the Year. The Instinct for Bliss, a New York Times Editor’s Choice, was awarded the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and the Claudia Ortese Prize in North American Literature; stories from the collection received Best of the West and Pushcart Prizes. Selene of the Spirits was a Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, and stories from Disappearing Ingenue were awarded Pushcart and O. Henry Prizes. Late Bloomer was a Chicago Tribune “Best Book of the Year,” and The Odditorium was a San Francisco Chronicle “Best Book of the Year,” an O, The Oprah Magazine “Book of the Week,” and a Library Journal “Small Press Best.” Palmerino was a Lambda Literary “New and Noteworthy Book,” a Publisher’s Weekly “Big Indie Book,” one of the ALA’s “Over the Rainbow” top LGBT selections, and a “Top Title” in O, The Oprah Magazine. The first title in Bellevue Literary Press’s series, The Art of the Essay, A Solemn Pleasure was named a “Best Books for Writers” by Poets and Writers, a Publishers Weekly Top Ten in 2015 in the categories of essay, literary biography and criticism, and a “Best Book of 2015” by IMAGE: Art, Faith and Mystery.
Consistently cited or reprinted in The Pushcart Prize, Best American Short Stories and O. Henry Prize Stories, her fiction and non-fiction appears in numerous anthologies, textbooks and online sites like Byliner, Longform, Ulyces and Longreads. Her stories have been performed by WordTheatre actors in New York City and Los Angeles. Awarded fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Brown University’s Howard Foundation, the Ledig-Rowohlt Foundation, the Hawthornden Foundation and the Bogliasco Foundation, she has published in over seventy journals, including The Paris Review, Ploughshares, A Public Space, Conjunctions, Agni, Ecotone, and The Southwest Review as well as in O, the Oprah Magazine, The Wilson Quarterly, Arrive, The Nation, the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. A Katherine Schneider Journalism Award finalist, her work was recognized by Atlantic Monthly’s 2013 Best of Journalism Awards.
Pritchard, Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University since 2016, was honored with the Founders’ Day Teaching Award and a Faculty Achievement Award. 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 is currently the 2016 Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellow at the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians in Columbus, Georgia.