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Jaimee Wriston Colbert


Jaimee Wriston Colbert

Author's Bio

Jaimee Wriston Colbert is the author of a linked stories collection, Dream Lives of Butterflies (BkMk), that won the gold medal in the 2008 Independent Publisher Awards in the Short Stories Fiction category, was a finalist in USA Book News "Best Books of 2007" Awards and the ForeWord Magazine "Book of the Year Awards," and made the Kansas City Star Top 100 Books of the Year list; a novel, Climbing the God Tree (Helicon Nine), winner of the Willa Cather Fiction Prize; and the fiction collection Sex, Salvation, and the Automobile, winner of the Zephyr Publishing Prize. A new novel, Shark Girls (Livingston), was published in November 2009, and was a finalist for the USA Book News "Best Books of 2010" Awards and the ForeWord Magazine "Book of the Year" Awards, earning a starred review in Booklist. Her stories have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including: TriQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, Tampa Review, Connecticut Review, New Letters, Green Mountains Review, Snake Nation Review, Louisiana Literature, Drunken Boat, and broadcast on NPR’s “Selected Shorts.” She has a story forthcoming in Paterson Literary Review and an essay in Many Mountains Moving. A story in Isotope won the 2009 Editors’ Fiction Prize, and another story won the 2008 Jane’s Stories National Short Story Award. She has had stories anthologized in Ohio Short Fiction, and Peculiar Pilgrims – Stories From the Left Hand of God, and a story presented at the 2007 Boston Fiction Festival, and performed throughout Maine by PCA Great Performances. Originally from Hawaii, she is Professor of Creative Writing at SUNY, Binghamton University, and has taught in Pacific University's low-residency MFA Program, and as Distinguished Visiting Writer at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. She has been a Visiting Writer at Columbia College Chicago, Colby College, the University of Maine system and the Maine State Prison. Praise for Jaimee Wriston Colbert: For Shark Girls, Livingston Press, November 2009: "Colbert has created an edgy and lush gothic tale laced with outlaw eroticism and barbed absurdities, and propelled by a powerful undertow racing beneath every alarming scene, bitterly funny moment, and strange twist of fate. From women battered and haunted to "throwaway kids," rock-and-roll burnouts, and quixotic guests, Colbert summons a world as volatile as Hawaii itself, with its cycles of volcanic destruction and slow repair." -Donna Seaman, BOOKLIST (Starred Review) “Colbert’s Shark Girls is a mesmerizing novel, vibrant with eroticism, myth, and mystery.” -Madison Smartt Bell, author, All Souls’ Rising. “This novel is so original and strange that it's hard to put a label on it, yet it has the lively detail and bold characterization and compelling plot that always make a good novel. I was captivated by the bold twists and turns, as well as the sharp and inventive language, and I was drawn in by the fascinating lore and setting of Hawaii.” -Bobbie Ann Mason, author, In Country. “Jaimee Wriston Colbert’s Shark Girls is as inventive as any novel I have read in a long time, the prose boisterous and perfectly mastered to tell this story about home and leave-taking, and about the quirky and unrelenting desire of the heart to find itself. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes poignantly, even disturbingly sad, it is, finally, and in every word, tender and original and as compassionate a look at character and place as you’re apt to find anywhere. Shark Girls dazzles. A remarkable achievement. -Jack Driscoll, author, How Like an Angel. For Dream Lives of Butterflies, Bookmark Press, October, 2007: "Evocative images of specimen butterflies, their broken bodies permanently suspended in time and pinned in place, suffuse Colbert's inventively interconnected stories of fragile yet defiant people whose lives immutably sway in a limbo between uncertainty and endurance…Colbert's incandescent protagonists manage to find a sliver of salvation, a glimmer of grace, through the timeless act of simply reaching out to another human being." -Carol Haggas, Booklist. "Colbert's words are like magic...it is her brilliant exploration of that no-man's land between what we desire and what we must live without that defines Colbert's deep empathy for her characters." - Kim Barnes, author, A Country Called Home. “Dream Lives of Butterflies is full of startling wisdom and high-flown humor. Jaimee Wriston Colbert’s characters are complete originals; full of sass and attitude, they struggle with the cultural tension between worlds and lives. Readers will love following these people on their full-hearted, rambunctious adventures.” -Diana Abu-Jaber, author, Origins. For Climbing the God Tree, Helicon Nine, 1998: …Colbert has a knack for creating vivid characters and handles well the novel's recurring themes of loss and retribution. -Publisher’s Weekly. "A debut novel set in a haunted Maine town. Eerie, understated, and deft. Colbert uses atmosphere the way David Lean uses scenery." -Kirkus Reviews. "The scope of Jaimee Wriston Colbert's storytelling is impressive, with no fewer than 16 central characters delineated in intricately overlapping narratives…The stories stand on their own as sensitive and unsentimental evocations of unrelieved loss." -The New York Times Book Review. "Jaimee Wriston Colbert looks deeply into the ragged places in our psyches—into the parts of us torn open by loss and by failed love—and reveals our humanity in all its beauty and imperfection. Here is a writer who, in powerfully linked stories, movingly evokes both our craving for the sacred and our tenacious embrace of the profane." –Dawn Raffel, Judge, Willa Cather Fiction Prize. “Climbing the God Tree is an intricate cat’s cradle of obsession, desire, compassion, and hope. Jaimee Wriston Colbert holds back nothing—in each of these finely interwoven lives, I recognize something of my own. An extraordinary novel.” -A Manette Ansay, author, River Angel.

Publications and Prizes

Shark Girls (Livingston Press, 2009), Dream Lives of Butterflies (BookMark Press, 2007), Climbing the God Tree (Helicon Nine Editions, 1998), Sex, Salvation and the Automobile (Zephyr Press, 1994)
Jane's Stories (Jane's Stories Press, 2012), Peculiar Pilgrims: Stories From the Left Hand of God (Hourglass Books, 2006), Twentieth Anniversary (Long Shot, 2002), Ohio Short Fiction (Northmont, 1995)
Chaminade Literary Review, Connecticut Review, Drunken Boat, Green Mountains Review, Harpur Palate, Isotope: Journal of Nature and Science Writing, Louisiana Literature, Natural Bridge, New Letters, Pacific Coast Journal, Potato Eyes, Prairie Schooner, Rosebud, Snake Nation Review, Tampa Review, Tiferet, TriQuarterly
2009: Editors' Fiction Prize; Isotope, Journal of Literary Nature and Science Writing. 2008: Jane's Stories National Short Story Award. 2008: Independent Publisher Awards (IPPY),Gold Medal, Short Stories Fiction Category; Dream Lives of Butterflies. 1997: Willa Cather Fiction Prize, for Climbing the God Tree. 1994: Zephyr Publishing Prize, for Sex, Salvation, and the Automobile

Personal Favorites

Favorite Books:
I have way too many favorite books and authors to list, and quite often they are whatever I'm reading at the moment, but the three that made me want to become a writer way back when, were: Look Homeward Angel, A Death in the Family, and everything by Flannery O'Connor.

Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Listing last updated: June 23, 2011

More Information

Listed as:
Fiction Writer
Gives readings?
Travels for readings?
Prefers to work with:
Raised in:
Honolulu, HI

Reviews, Recordings, and Interviews

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