Deborah Eisenberg

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Deborah Eisenberg
Born (1945-11-20) November 20, 1945 (age 71)
Winnetka, Illinois,[1] United States
Occupation Short-story writer, actress, teacher
Alma mater Marlboro College; The New School[2]
Notable awards
Partner Wallace Shawn[3]

Deborah Eisenberg (born November 20, 1945) is an American short-story writer, actress and teacher.


Eisenberg was born in Winnetka, Illinois. Her family was Jewish.[2] She grew up in suburban Chicago, Illinois, and moved to New York City in the late 1960s. She was an editorial assistant at The New York Review of Books in 1973.[4] Her longtime companion is actor-writer Wallace Shawn.[3] She taught at the University of Virginia from 1994 until 2011, when she accepted a teaching position at Columbia University's MFA writing program. Eisenberg lives in New York City.[5]


Eisenberg has written four collections of stories: Transactions in a Foreign Currency (1986), Under the 82nd Airborne (1992), All Around Atlantis (1997), and Twilight of the Superheroes (2006). Her first two story collections were republished in one volume as The Work (So Far) of Deborah Eisenberg (1997).[6] All four short-story collections were reprinted in 2010 in The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg (2010).[7]

She has also written a play, Pastorale, which was produced at Second Stage in New York City in 1982. Eisenberg has written for such magazines as The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and The Yale Review.[6]

Awards and criticism[edit]

Eisenberg in 2009

Eisenberg was the recipient of the Rea Award for the Short Story in the year 2000, an award granted for significant contribution to the short story form. She has also been the recipient of such awards as a Whiting Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the O. Henry Awards.[8]

In 2007, Eisenberg was elected into the American Academy of Arts and Letters,[1] and in 2009 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.[9] She won the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg.[10]

Ben Marcus, reviewing Twilight of the Superheroes for The New York Times Book Review, called Eisenberg "one of the most important fiction writers now at work. This work is great."[11]

Eisenberg received the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story in May 2015.[12]


In April 2015, in an exchange with American PEN’s Executive Director Suzanne Nossel published in The Intercept by Glenn Greenwald,[13] Eisenberg criticized PEN’s decision to bestow its annual Freedom of Expression Courage Award to Charlie Hebdo instead of to "Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras".[13] Writers Michael Moynihan, Ophelia Benson and Katha Pollitt criticized her for comparing Charlie Hebdo to the Nazi publication "Der Stürmer"[14][15][16] while Jacob Siegel said she had put "dead cartoonists on trial".[17]


Story collections[edit]



  • Ken Heyman (1988). Hipshot: One-Handed, Auto-Focus Photographs by a Master Photographer. Foreword Eisenberg. Aperture. 
  • Air: 24 Hours. paintings by Jennifer Bartlett (Text by Eisenberg). H.N. Abrams. 1994. 
  • Michael John LaChiusa (2003). Little Fish. (Short Story Deborah Eisenberg). Dramatists Play Service, Inc. ISBN 978-0-8222-1973-6. 
  • Francine Prose, Mark Hussey, eds. (2004). "On Mrs. Dalloway". The Mrs. Dalloway Reader. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-15-603015-1. 

Short stories[edit]


  • William Miller Abrahams, ed. (1995). Prize stories 1995: the O. Henry awards. Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-47672-0. 
  • Richard Ford, ed. (2007). The New Granta Book of the American Short Story. Granta Books. ISBN 978-1-86207-847-5. 
  • Laura Furman, ed. (2006). The O. Henry prize stories, Volume 2008. Anchor Books. ISBN 978-1-4000-9539-1. 


  1. ^ a b "American Academy of Arts and Letters - 2007 Newly Elected Members". 2007-03-13. Archived from the original on 2011-06-17. Retrieved 2011-10-18. Writer Deborah Eisenberg was born in Winnetka, Illinois 
  2. ^ a b Smith, Dinitia (2006-02-28). "Deborah Eisenberg Gets Attention With a Fifth Book of Stories". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-18. 
  3. ^ a b Steindler, Catherine. "Interviews, Deborah Eisenberg, The Art of Fiction No. 218". The Paris Review. 
  4. ^ "The Amazing Human Launching Pads". "Who Runs New York", New York magazine, September 26, 2010
  5. ^ "Table of Contents". The New York Review of Books. July 14, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "The Rea Award for the Short Story - Deborah Eisenberg". 2000. 
  7. ^ Thompson, Jean (2010-04-18). "Don't Have a Nice Day". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  8. ^ Ulin, David L. (September 10, 2013). "The Reading Life Looking at 'The O. Henry Prize Stories 2013'". Los Angeles Times. 
  9. ^ "Deborah Eisenberg". MacArthur Foundation. January 26, 2009. 
  10. ^ Bosman, Julie (March 15, 2011). "Deborah Eisenberg Wins PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ Marcus, Ben (2006-02-12). "Enigma Machines". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  12. ^ "Deborah Eisenberg wins Malamud prize for short fiction". Ynetnews. May 19, 2015. 
  13. ^ a b Greenwald, Glenn (April 27, 2015). "Read the Letters and Comments of PEN Writers Protesting the Charlie Hebdo Award". The Intercept. 
  14. ^ Moynihan, Michael (May 4, 2015). "America's Literary Elite Takes a Bold Stand Against Dead Journalists". The Daily Beast. 
  15. ^ Benson, Ophelia (April 27, 2015). "Deborah Eisenberg gets Charlie Hebdo all wrong". 
  16. ^ Pollitt, Katha (April 30, 2015). "'Charlie Hebdo' Deserves Its Award for Courage in Free Expression. Here's Why.". The Nation. 
  17. ^ Siegel, Jacob (April 28, 2015). "Literati Sneer at Hebdo's Graves". The Daily Beast. 

External links[edit]