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Marion Winik and Beau at the wine bar, summer 2009








Life Story
Bio & bibliography

I was born in Manhattan in 1958 and raised on the Jersey shore. I graduated from Brown in 1978 and got my MFA from Brooklyn College in 1983.

Throughout my childhood and into my twenties, I wrote poetry. Some of it was published in two small-press books, Nonstop (Cedar Rock, 1981) and BoyCrazy (Slough Press, 1986). In the late eighties—by which time I was living in Austin, Texas with my first husband, Tony—I began writing personal essays.

The essays first appeared in The Austin Chronicle. Then John Burnett, an Austin-based National Public Radio reporter who had been reading them in the paper, suggested that he put my name forward as a commentator for NPR. My first piece was on All Things Considered in May 1991.

In early '92, a literary agent contacted me. We put together a collection of my essays which became Telling (1994). That same winter, I received a fellowship in Creative Nonfiction from the National Endowment for the Arts. This gave me the confidence to quit my tech writing job of ten years. Soon I was freelancing for women’s magazines, parenting magazines, travel publications and newspapers.

In August of 1994, Tony died. My memoir First Comes Love (1996) tells the story of our marriage and his battle with AIDS. It was a New York Times Notable Book and winner of the Austin Writers' League Violet Crown Award. It has been in development as a feature film for many years now.

My next book, The Lunch-Box Chronicles (1998) told about my life as a single mom. It was selected by Child Magazine as a parenting book of the year and was made into a pilot for a t.v. series by CBS/Universal. Monica Potter played me.

While I was on tour for The Lunch-Box Chronicles, I met my second husband, Crispin Sartwell, in a bookstore. A year later, I moved to Pennsylvania to marry him. It was hard to leave Austin, but I was given the key to the city at my going-away party, so maybe I can go back sometime.

After a talk I gave at my old high school in New Jersey, I wrote Rules for the Unruly (2001), a book of advice. In 2005, I published a collection of essays called Above Us Only Sky; Highs in the Low Fifties came out in 2013. New from Counterpoint in the fall of 2019 is The Big Book of the Dead, a series of very short essays remembering people who touched my life, combining the previous Glen Rock and Baltimore books of the dead and adding new work.

These days I live with my dachshund, Wally, and his pet cat, Squash, in the beautiful Evergreen neighborhood of Baltimore. I teach writing in the MFA program in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts at the University of Baltimore. I write a column at, and review books for Newsday, People, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and Kirkus Reviews. My podcast, The Weekly Reader is based at Baltimore's NPR affiliate, WYPR. I am the treasurer of the National Book Critics Circle.



contact Marion Winik on FaceBook