Dorene O'Brien

Fiction Writer

Detroit, MI
Michigan US

Author's Bio

Dorene O’Brien is an award-winning Detroit-based writer whose stories have won the Red Rock Review Mark Twain Award for Short Fiction, the Chicago Tribune Nelson Algren Award, the New Millennium Writings Fiction Prize, and the international Bridport Prize. She is also an NEA, a Vermont Studio Center and a Pfeiffer-Hemingway creative writing fellow. Her work has been nominated for three Pushcart prizes, has been published in special Kindle editions, and has appeared in the Baltimore Review, Madison Review, Best of Carve MagazineShort Story ReviewSouthern Humanities ReviewDetroit Noir, Montreal ReviewPassages North, and others. Voices of the Lost and Found, her first fiction collection, was a finalist for the Drake Emerging Writer Award and won the USA Best Book Award for Short Fiction. Her fiction chapbook, Ovenbirds and Other Stories, won the Wordrunner Chapbook Prize in 2018. Her second full-length collection, What It Might Feel Like to Hope, released in 2019, was named first runner-up in the Mary Roberts Rinehart Fiction Prize and won a 2019 gold medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards (IPPY). She is currently writing a literary/Sci-Fi hybrid novel

Writers Retreats: 

Publications & Prizes

My Cruel Invention (Meerkat Press, 2015)
XX Eccentric: Stories about the Eccentricities of Women (Main Street Rag, 2009)
Detroit Noir (Akashic Books, 2007)
What It Might Feel Like to Hope (Baobab Press, 2019)
Voices of the Lost and Found (Wayne State University Press, 2007)
Ovenbirds and Other Stories (Wordrunner eChapbooks, 2018)
Alkali Flats
Ars Medica: A Journal of Medicine, the Arts, and Humanities
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Chicago Tribune
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Clackamas Literary Review
Connecticut Review
Corridors Literary Magazine
Curious Rooms
Driftwood Review
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Fine Print
Higginsville Reader
Hot Metal Press
Houston Literary Review
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Margin: Exploring Magic Realism
Miranda Literary Magazine
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New Press Literary Quarterly
News From: The Republic of Letters
Night Train
North Atlantic Review
Paper Street
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Plum Biscuit
Princeton Arts Review
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REAL: Regarding Arts & Letters
Red Rock Review
Short Story Review
Silver Quill
The Madison Review
The Rambler
Third Wednesday
THIS Literary Magazine
Tidal Basin Review
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Weave Magazine
Prizes won: 

Grants and Scholarships

Pfeiffer-Hemingway Writing Fellow, 2019

Vermont Studio Center Writing Fellow, 2016

National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Grant, 2004

Graduate-Professional Scholarship (Full tuition), Wayne State University, 1997

Loughead Eldredge Creative Writing Grant, Wayne State University, 1997

Tompkins Award in Fiction, Wayne State University, 1997

Tompkins Award in Essay, Wayne State University, 1997

Loughead Eldredge Creative Writing Grant, Wayne State University, 1996

Lenore Upton Scholarship, Women in Communications, 1993

WSU Merit Scholarship (Full tuition), Wayne State University, 1993  

Honors and Awards

Independent Publishers Book Award for Short Fiction Gold Medal, 2019

Wordrunner Chapbook Contest Winner, 2018

Mary Roberts Rinehart Prize for Fiction Collections, First Runner-Up, 2017

Baltic Writing Residency Finalist, 2017

Woven Tale Press Fiction Contest, Honorable Mention, 2017

Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, 2016

Wordrunner Chapbook Contest Finalist, 2016

Horatio Nelson Story Collection Finalist, 2015

Finalist, Atlas Review Chapbook Contest, 2015

Finalist, eWordrunner Chapbook Contest, 2015

Nominated for the storySouth Million Writers Award, 2014

International Fish Award Shortlist, 2013

Second Place, Chris O’Malley Prize in Fiction, 2011

Madison Review Fiction Finalist, 2010

Drake Emerging Writer Award Finalist, 2009

Greensboro Review Literary Award for Fiction Finalist, 2009

USA Book News Best Book Award, 2008

Pushcart Prize Nomination, 2008

International Fish Award Shortlist, 2007

New Letters Literary Award Finalist, 2006

Best of Carve Award, 2005

First Place, Bridport International Writing Competition, 2004

Night Train Firebox Fiction Award, 2004

Writer’s Voice Prose Award, 2004

Chicago Tribune Nelson Algren Fiction Award, 2003

First Place, Willamette Award in Fiction, 2003

Writer’s Voice Prose Award, 2003

Pushcart Prize Nomination, 2003

First Place, Wind Magazine Fiction Award, 2002

First Place, New Millennium Award for Fiction, 2002

New Letters Literary Award for Fiction Finalist, 2002

Greensboro Review Literary Award for Fiction Finalist, 2002

Authors in the Park Short Story Contest Finalist, 2002

First Place, Red Rock Review Mark Twain Award for Short Fiction, 2000

Inkwell Fiction Contest, Manhattanville College, Honorable Mention, 1999

First Place, Iowa Literary Awards, Iowa Organization for the Writing Arts, 1998                                                                                                                          Peregrine Prize, Honorable Mention, Amherst Writers & Artists Press, 1998

First Place, Metro Times Summer Fiction Contest, 1997

New Letters Literary Awards, University of Missouri, Second Runner Up, 1997

Explorations, University of Alaska Writing Award, Honorable Mentions, 1996, 1997

Personal Favorites

Favorite authors: 
Andrea Barrett, Lorrie More, Anthony Doerr, Steven Millhauser, T.C. Boyle, Steart O'Nan, Tom Perrotta, Karen Russell, Francine Prose.

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
Polish American
Prefers to work with: 
Fluent in: 
Born in: 
Detroit, MI
Raised in: 
Detroit, MI
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last update: Jun 24, 2022