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 work includes the young-adult space-fantasy novel Magonia and Queen of Kings, an alternate-history fantasy novel about Cleopatra. Her short story "Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream", originally published in Lightspeed magazine in July 2012, was a 2012 Nebula Award nominee, in the short story category. Her short story "The Traditional" was a finalist for the 2013 Shirley Jackson Award.[1]

Early life[edit]

Maria Dahvana Headley was born June 21, 1977 in Estacada, Oregon.[2] She attended New York University, where she studied dramatic writing[2] at the Tisch School of the Arts Dramatic Writing Program.


The Mere Wife[edit]

In October, 2015, Farrar, Straus and Girouxg 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] The Mere Wife was nominated for the 2019 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.[4]


In 2014, HarperCollins acquired the young adult novel Magonia and a sequel.[5] 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. It received a starred review in Publishers Weekly in February, 2015, being named one of the Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2015.[6] It was a New York Times Young Adult bestseller in 2015.[7] The sequel, Aerie, was published in 2016.

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.[8][9]

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),[10] 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.[11] The Year of Yes is a 2006 Finalist in The Books for a Better Life Award.[12]

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.[13] It was named one of NPR's Best Books of 2014.[14]

The Book of the Dead, a 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 feature Headley's mummies and candy story, "Bit-U-Men".[15][16]

The short story "Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream" was published by Lightspeed magazine in 2012,[17]

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",[18] which was simultaneously published in Nightmare magazine.[19]

"The Traditional", a short story, was published in Lightspeed magazine in 2013.[20]

The short story "Moveable Beast" was published in the anthology Unnatural Creatures in 2013, and was a Nebula Award finalist in the short story category. It is anthologized in The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2013, edited by Rich Horton.[21]

The novelette Game was published by Subterranean Press in 2012 and appeared in The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2013, edited by Paula Guran.

"Seeräuber", a short story about a Jenny Haniver, was published by Subterranean Press in late 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 Original, was published in October 2015.[23]

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.[24]

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.[citation needed] She has been a featured author at ABA Winter Institute,[25] Bumbershoot, Wordstock, and the Texas Book Festival.[citation needed] In 2017, she was nominated for a World Fantasy Award in Short Fiction for "Little Widow." Her novel The Mere Wifewas nominated for the 2019 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Headley lived in Seattle for many years before returning to New York, where she lives now.[2]


  1. ^ "2015 Shirley Jackson Awards Nominees". The Shirley Jackson Awards. 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Maria Dahvana Headley: Divine Monsters". Locus. July 12, 2013.
  3. ^ "The Mere Wife". Publishers Marketplace. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
  4. ^ "World Fantasy Awards℠ 2019 | World Fantasy Convention". Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  5. ^ "Rights Report: Week of March 3, 2014". Publishers Weekly. March 3, 2014.
  6. ^ Publishers Weekly. "Magonia". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  7. ^ "New York Times Bestseller List Week of December 13, 2015". The New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
  8. ^ "Home With Trailer". Maria Dahvana Headley. Retrieved 2012-03-28.[dead link]
  9. ^ Queen of Kings, Publishers Marketplace
  10. ^ Gardner, Chris. "'Yes' men for Par pic: Jinks and Cohen will produce Headley adaptation", Variety, March 6, 2006.
  11. ^ Maria Headley - HarperCollins
  12. ^ "Books for a Better Life Finalists and Winners" Archived 2011-07-27 at the Wayback Machine, National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
  13. ^ "THE END OF THE SENTENCE". Subterranean Press. Archived from the original on 16 February 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  14. ^ "Best Books of 2014". National Public Radio. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  15. ^ "This Book of the Dead is not what you might expect..." Archived 2013-08-04 at the Wayback Machine. Egypt Exploration Society. July 25, 2013.
  16. ^ "Announcing... The Book of the Dead & Unearthed". Pornokitsch. July 28, 2013.
  17. ^ Headley, Maria Dahvana (2012). "Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream". Lightspeed'.
  18. ^ Brown, Eric (July 20, 2013). "Science fiction roundup – reviews ". The Guardian.
  19. ^ Headley, Maria Dahvana (July 2013). "The Krakatoan". Nightmare
  20. ^ Headley, Maria Dahvana (2013). "The Traditional". Lightspeed
  21. ^ "Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream ". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  22. ^ Atkins, Amy. "A New Breed of Playwright: Author Maria Dahvana Headley debuts play at BCT", Boise Weekly, March 19, 2008.
  23. ^ "Some Gods of El Paso" at
  24. ^ review of Unnatural Creatures
  25. ^ "Authors Appearing at Winter Institute". Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  26. ^ "World Fantasy Awards℠ 2019 | World Fantasy Convention". Retrieved 2019-07-25.

External links[edit]