Maria Dahvana Headley

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Maria Dahvana Headley

Maria Dahvana Headley (born June 21, 1977 in Estacada, Oregon) is an American novelist, memoirist, editor, and playwright. She is a New York Times-bestselling author as well as editor.

Her recent work includes the New York Times-bestselling young adult fantasy novel, "Magonia"[1] (Publisher's Weekly Best Books of 2015), the alternate history/fantasy novel, Queen of Kings, published in 2011. Her short story,Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream was a 2012 Nebula Award nominee, in the short story category, and originally published in Lightspeed Magazine in July 2012. Her short story, "The Traditional" was a finalist for the 2013 Shirley Jackson Award.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Headley graduated from Vallivue High School in Caldwell, Idaho, in 1995, and attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts Dramatic Writing Program. She lives in Brooklyn.

"The Mere Wife"[edit]

In October, 2015, Farrar, Straus and Giroux editor Sean McDonald acquired "The Mere Wife" at auction.

"Best-selling Magonia author, Maria Dahvana Headley’s THE MERE WIFE, a ferocious, sexy, and politically topical literary adaptation of Beowulf set in present-day New York, to Sean McDonald at FSG at auction by Stephanie Cabot at The Gernert Company (NA)."[3]


In 2014, HarperCollins acquired the young adult novel "Magonia" and a sequel.[4] Magonia, the story of a 16-year-old girl with a mysterious breathing disease who finds herself on a sky ship in the historical kingdom of Magonia, was published in April 2015.[5] It received a starred review in Publisher's Weekly in February, 2015.[6]

Queen of Kings[edit]

In early 2010, Dutton purchased Headley's debut novel Queen of Kings, which explores "the transcendent powers of love even beyond death, entwining the true story of Antony and Cleopatra and Rome's invasion of Alexandria with a narrative in which the Queen of Egypt sacrifices her soul to save her fallen husband and in return is transformed into an immortal goddess bent on the destruction of the Roman Empire".[citation needed] It was purchased as part of a trilogy deal. The hardcover was released in 2011.[7][8]

The Year of Yes[edit]

In 2006, Hyperion published her memoir, The Year of Yes, an account of the year Headley spent saying yes to dates with anyone who asked her out. The Year of Yes has been optioned for the screen by Paramount Pictures and the Jinks/Cohen Company (producers of American Beauty, and Big Fish, among other films),[9] and has been or will be translated into Korean, German, Dutch, Italian, Hebrew, and Chinese, as well as appearing in an additional English-language edition in the UK and world marketplace through HarperCollins Thorsons Element imprint.[10] The Year of Yes is a 2006 Finalist in The Books for a Better Life Award.[11]

The Year of Yes was released in hardcover in January 2006, and in paperback in January 2007.

Other Writing[edit]

The novella The End of the Sentence, co-written with Kat Howard, is "a fairytale of ghosts and guilt, literary horror blended with the visuals of Jean Cocteau, failed executions, shapeshifting goblins, and magical blacksmithery." It was published by Subterranean Press in September 2014.[12] It was named one of NPR's Best Books of 2014.[13]

The Book of the Dead, a fall 2013 anthology of science fiction & fantasy stories "all themed around the most mysterious, versatile and, perhaps, under-appreciated of the undead: the mummy," published by Jurassic London & the Egypt Exploration Society will contain Headley's mummies and candy story, Bit-U-Men.[14]

The Lowest Heaven, a 2013 anthology of science fiction stories devoted to the solar system published by Jurassic London & The Royal Observatory Greenwich, contains Headley's short story The Krakatoan[15][16] which was simultaneously published at Nightmare Magazine.[17]

The Traditional, a short story, was published by Lightspeed Magazine in 2013.[18]

Moveable Beast, a short story, was published in the anthology Unnatural Creatures in 2013.[19]

Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream was published by Lightspeed Magazine in 2012, and was a Nebula Award finalist in the short story category. It is anthologized in Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2013, ed. Rich Horton.[20]

Game, a novelette, was published by Subterranean Press in 2012 and will appear in The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2013, Ed. Paula Guran.[21]

Seeräuber was published by Subterranean Press in Winter 2012.

Headley's plays, Drive Me and Last of the Breed, have been produced at Boise Contemporary Theater in Boise, Idaho.[22]

Her story Some Gods of El Paso, a Tor.Com Original, is forthcoming (2015).

Editorial work[edit]

Headley is co-editor with Neil Gaiman on the New York Times-bestselling anthology Unnatural Creatures an anthology to benefit 826DC, containing natural history-themed monster stories by a variety of authors both living and dead, including Samuel R. Delany, E. Nesbit, Diana Wynne Jones, Nalo Hopkinson, Headley and Gaiman.[23]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Headley is a 2012 Nebula Award Finalist, a 2013 Shirley Jackson Award Finalist, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, and has attended The Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, The Sundance Playwright's Lab, The Kennedy Center's New Visions/New Voices workshop, Brave New Works, and the WordBridge Playwright's Lab. She has been a featured author at ABA Winter Institute,[24] Bumbershoot, Wordstock, and the Texas Book Festival among others.

Locus Magazine's July 2013 issue contains Maria Dahvana Headley: Divine Monsters, an interview and cover profile.[25]


  1. ^ "New York Times Bestseller List Week of December 13, 2015". The New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2015. 
  2. ^ . The Shirley Jackson Awards  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "The Mere Wife". Publishers Marketplace. Publishers Marketplace. Retrieved December 12, 2015. 
  4. ^ Publisher's Weekly. "Rights Report: Week of March 3, 2014".  External link in |website= (help);
  5. ^ . HarperCollins  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Publishers Weekly. "Magonia". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  7. ^ "Home With Trailer - Maria Dahvana Headley". Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Gardner, Chris. "'Yes' men for Par pic: Jinks and Cohen will produce Headley adaptation", Variety, March 6, 2006.
  10. ^ Maria Headley - HarperCollins
  11. ^ "Books for a Better Life Finalists and Winners", National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
  12. ^ "THE END OF THE SENTENCE". Subterranean Press. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  13. ^ "Best Books of 2014". National Public Radio. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ The Lowest Heaven.
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Atkins, Amy. "A New Breed of Playwright: Author Maria Dahvana Headley debuts play at BCT", Boise Weekly, March 19, 2008.
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Authors Appearing at Winter Institute". Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  25. ^

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]