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The Radical Power of Personal Narrative

A national bestseller & LA Times bestseller

"The most necessary book about memoir I’ve read. Daring, honest, psychologically insightful, and absolutely whip smart. A must read."                                                                      —Mary Karr


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Photo by Beowulf Sheehan

Melissa Febos is the author of four books, including the nationally bestselling essay collection, GIRLHOOD, which was a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism, and named a notable book of 2021 by NPR, Time, The Washington Post, and others. Her craft book, BODY WORK (2022), was also a national bestseller, an LA Times Bestseller, and an Indie Next Pick. Her fifth book, The Dry Season, is forthcoming from Alfred. A. Knopf.

The recipient of a 2022 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a 2022 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, and the Jeanne Córdova Nonfiction Award from LAMBDA Literary, Melissa's work has appeared in publications including The Paris Review, The Sun, The Kenyon Review, Tin House, Granta, The Believer, McSweeney’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Elle, and Vogue.


Her essays have won prizes from Prairie Schooner, Story Quarterly, The Sewanee Review, and The Center for Women Writers at Salem College. She is a four-time MacDowell fellow and has also received fellowships from the 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, The British Library, The Black Mountain Institute, The Ragdale Foundation, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, which named her the 2018 recipient of the Sarah Verdone Writing Award.

She co-curated the Mixer Reading and Music Series in Manhattan for ten years and served on the Board of Directors for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts for five. The recipient of an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, she is a full professor at the University of Iowa, where she teaches in the Nonfiction Writing Program. She lives in Iowa City with her wife, the poet Donika Kelly.



March 23, 2023

University of Illinois


April 14, 2023

UMass Amherst

Amherst, MA

May 3, 2023

University of Manchester

Manchester, England

Buy tickets here

June 26-30

Fine Arts Work Center

Provincetown, MA

July 8-16

Tin House Summer Workshop

Portland, OR

July 17-22

Port Townsend Writers Conference

Port Townsend, WA



For Body Work inquiries, Alisha Gorder: alisha.gorder [at]

For Girlhood inquiries, Emily Fishman: Emily.Fishman [at]


For bookings: Elaine Trevorrow at EMT Agency: Elaine [at]

For film/TV: Anna DeRoy at WME: ADeRoy [at]

Literary agent: Ethan Bassoff at Ross Yoon Agency: Ethan [at]

Melissa: Melissa.Febos [at]

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