Marly Youmans

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Marly Youmans
Marly Youmans on a panel of "Poets Who Write Other Genres" at the 2012 West Chester University Poetry Conference
Marly Youmans on a panel of "Poets Who Write Other Genres" at the 2012 West Chester University Poetry Conference
BornSusan Marlene Youmans
(1953-11-22) November 22, 1953 (age 69)
Aiken, South Carolina, U.S.
  • Poet
  • novelist
  • short story writer
Genrepoetry, novels, short stories, books for children

Marly Youmans (born Susan Marlene Youmans; November 22, 1953 in Aiken, South Carolina) is an American poet, novelist and short story writer. Her work reflects certain recurring themes such as nature, magic, faith and redemption, and often references visual art.


Marly Youmans grew up in Louisiana, North Carolina, and elsewhere. She currently lives in the village of Cooperstown, New York, with her husband and three children. She graduated from Hollins College, Brown University, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She taught at State University of New York but quit academia after receiving promotion and tenure in her fifth year.[1]


Her published work consists of five books of poetry, eight novels and two fantasies for young readers, as well as uncollected short stories, essays and poems. Across all these idioms, her work displays a commitment to rhythm, the sound of words, imagery and complexity of form and allusion. Thaliad, for example, is an epic poem that tells a compelling story of children who survive an apocalypse to begin a new society, written as though a spoken history remembranced in blank verse a generation on. Her novels have been described as 'literary fiction at its finest' in Books and Culture[2] while The Advocate has cited her skill at mastering poetic forms.[3] The editor of Books and Culture says, "Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers."[4]

Her books demonstrate a number of continuing interests: in lives lived close to nature, whether in the past (Catherwood) or the future (Thaliad), magic, faith and redemption (Val/Orson, The Foliate Head) and the individual’s journey from youth to adulthood (Inglewood, A Death at the White Camelia Orphanage). Visual art is often referenced in her work and Charis in the World of Wonders, The Book of the Red King, Thaliad, The Foliate Head, Glimmerglass, and Maze of Blood were collaborations with the artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins with decorations throughout the texts. She provided the title poems for an illustrated anthology, The Book of Ystwyth: Six Poets on the Art of Clive Hicks-Jenkins.[5]


Youmans has been awarded many "book of the year" and "best of the year" citations by magazines, newspapers, and organizations. She is the winner of The Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction for The Wolf Pit,[6] her third novel, which was also on the short list for The Southern Book Award. She is a two-time winner of the Theodore Hoepfner Award for the short story and the winner of the New Writers Award of Capital Magazine (New York), also for the short story. Her latest awards are The Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction and the Silver in fiction, ForeWord BOTYA Awards for A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage (Mercer University Press, 2012.) Glimmerglass and Maze of Blood were ForeWord BOTYA finalists. She has held fellowships from Yaddo, New York State, and elsewhere.

She was a judge of the 2012 National Book Awards.[7]



  • Little Jordan (Boston: David R. Godine, 1995) ISBN 978-1-56792-029-1 (reprint Tempest, 1996)
  • Catherwood. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 1996. ISBN 978-0-374-11972-0. (reprint Bard 1997)
  • The Wolf Pit. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 2001. ISBN 978-0-374-29195-2. (reprint Harcourt, 2003, ISBN 978-0-15-602714-4)
  • Val/Orson (Hornsea, UK: P. S. Publishing, 2009) 1-906301-51-4 / 9781906301514 (UK) dual jacketed/unjacketed limited editions
  • A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage (Macon: Mercer University Press, 2012) 0881462713 / 9780881462715 (hardcover/paperback/ebook)
  • Glimmerglass (Macon: Mercer University Press, 2014) ISBN 978-0881464917 (hardcover)
  • Maze of Blood (Macon: Mercer University Press, 2015) ISBN 978-0881465365 (hardcover)
  • Charis in the World of Wonders (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1621643043 (Sythe-sewn softbound with French flaps)


Books for young adults[edit]


  • 'Fire in the Labyrinth' in Simon Callow, Andrew Green, Rex Harley, Clive Hicks-Jenkins, Kathe Koja, Anita Mills, Montserrat Prat, Jacqueline Thalmann, Damian Walford Davies and Marly Youmans, Clive Hicks-Jenkins (2011: Lund Humphries) ISBN 978-1-84822-082-9, pp. 99–123


  1. ^ Joseph M. Flora; Amber Vogel; Bryan Albin Giemza, eds. (2006). Southern writers: a new biographical dictionary. LSU Press. ISBN 978-0-8071-3123-7.
  2. ^ Linda McCullough Moore, Books and Culture, May 2012
  3. ^ Greg Langley, The Advocate, 30 January 2013
  4. ^ "The Top Ten Books of 2003". Books and Culture. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  5. ^ Bonta, Dave, Callum James, Andrea Selch, Catriona Urquhart, Damian Walford Davies and Marly Youmans, The Book of Ystwyth: Six Poets on the Art of Clive Hicks-Jenkins (2011: Carolina Wren Press) ISBN 978-0-932112-89-7
  6. ^ "SON'S PASSION FOR CIVIL WAR LED HER TO WRITE AWARD-WINNING BOOK". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. June 26, 2002. Retrieved 2008-09-18.
  7. ^ National Book Awards 2012


External links[edit]