Berriault was born in Long Beach, California, to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents. Her father was a freelance writer and Berriault took her inspiration from him, using his stand-up typewriter to write her first stories while still in grammar school.
Berriault had a prolific writing career, which included stories, novels and screenplays. Her writing tended to focus on life in and around San Francisco. She published four novels and three collections of short stories, including Women in Their Beds: New & Selected Stories (1996), which won the PEN/Faulkner Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award. In 1997 Berriault was chosen as winner of the Rea Award for the Short Story, for outstanding achievement in that genre.
Berriault taught writing at the Iowa Writers Workshop and San Francisco State University. She also received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Ingram-Merrill Fellowship, a Commonwealth Gold Medal for Literature, the Pushcart Prize and several O'Henry prizes.
She adapted her short story "The Stone Boy" for a film of the same title, released in 1984. The same story had previously been adapted by another writer for a 1960 television presentation. The Gina Berriault Award, created by Peter Orner and Fourteen Hills Review at San Francisco State University in 2009, honors Berriault's legacy.
- The Descent (1960)
- A Conference of Victims (1962)
- The Son (1966)
- The Lights of Earth (1984)
- Story collections
- The Mistress and Other Stories (1965)
- The Infinite Passion of Expectation: Twenty-five Stories (1982)
- Women in Their Beds: New & Selected Stories (1996)
- "Gina Berriault". Rea Award for the Short Story. Rea Award.org/Dungannon Foundation. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
- The Stone Boy (1984) at the Internet Movie Database
- The Stone Boy (1960) at the Internet Movie Database
- "Gina Berriault, 73, An Author Of Deft Novels And Short Stories (obituary)". The New York Times. July 23, 1999. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
- Gina Berriault at the Internet Movie Database
- The Woman in the Rose-Colored Dress, a short story, Narrative Magazine (Fall 2005).
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