Robin Hemley

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Robin Hemley attends a kindergarten music class for DO-OVER!

Robin Hemley, born in New York City, is a Jewish American nonfiction and fiction writer, author of twelve books, most recently, the short story collection, REPLY ALL (Break Away Books, Indiana University Press, 2012).


Robin Hemley was born to a literary family. His parents were both translators and editors of the work of Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer. His father, Cecil Hemley, was co-founder, with Arthur A. Cohen, of The Noonday Press, and his mother, Elaine Gottlieb Hemley, published fiction and poetry.

He graduated from Indiana University in Comparative Literature and from the University of Iowa with an MFA in Fiction.

He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, the North Carolina Arts Council, the Ohioana Library Association, and the Washington State Arts Council.

He has had artist residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Ragdale, The Hermitage, The Bogliasco Foundation, and the Edward Albee Foundation.

His awards include two Pushcart Prizes for Fiction, first place in the Nelson Algren Award for Fiction from The Chicago Tribune, and the Independent Press Book Award for Nonfiction.

In 2004, he began teaching at the University of Iowa where he was hired as the Director of the Nonfiction Writing Program, and since 2000 he has taught at Vermont College (now Vermont College of Fine Arts) where he served as Faculty Chair for three years. He has also taught at the University of Utah, Western Washington University, St. Lawrence University, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

At Western Washington University, he edited The Bellingham Review for five years and founded the Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction and the Annie Dillard Award for Nonfiction. At the University of Iowa, he founded the NonfictioNow Conference in 2005.

In 2013, he was hired as the Director of the Writing Program, Writer-in-Residence, and Professor of Humanities at Yale-NUS College in Singapore.

He is the Founder and President of NonfictioNOW, an international conference on the myriad forms of nonfiction that has been held at The University of Iowa, RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, Northern Arizona University and most recently at The University of Iceland.

He is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at RMIT University.

He currently lives in Singapore, is married, and has four daughters.



  • Hemley, Robin (1987). The mouse town and other stories. Flagstaff, AZ: Word Beat Press.
  • All You Can Eat, stories (1988)
  • The Last Studebaker, a novel (1992)
  • The Big Ear, stories (1994)

Short stories[edit]

Title Year First published Reprinted/collected
All good things are surprises 2007 Hemley, Robin (Winter 2007). "All good things are surprises". Narrative.


Title Year First published Reprinted/collected
My father's bawdy song 1993 Hemley, Robin (Fall 1993). "My father's bawdy song". Ploughshares. 61.


  • Hemley, Robin (1998). Nola : a memoir of faith, art, and madness. St Paul: Graywolf Press.
  • Invented Eden: The Elusive, Disputed History of the Tasaday (2003)
  • Extreme Fiction: Fabulists and Formalists (anthology, with Michael Martone, 2004)
  • Turning Life Into Fiction (2006)
  • DO-OVER! In which a forty-eight-year-old father of three returns to kindergarten, summer camp, the prom, and other embarrassments (2009)
  • — (2013) [1998]. Nola : a memoir of faith, art, and madness. Reprint. Iowa City: U Iowa Press.

Essays and reporting[edit]



External links[edit]