Gabrielle Selz

Creative Nonfiction Writer

Oakland, CA
California US

Author's Bio

Gabrielle Selz is the award-winning author of Light on Fire: The Art and Life of Sam Francis. Her debut book Unstill Life: A Daughter’s Memoir of Art and Love in the Age of Abstraction (W.W. Norton, 2014) received the best memoir of the year award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. It was listed as the best book of 2014 by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Gabrielle holds a special interest in the intersection of history, cultural criticism, and art. She grew up immersed in the art world. Her father, Peter Selz, was the Chief Curator of the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the 1960s and later the Founding Director of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Her mother was the writer and the founding editor of Story Quarterly, Thalia Selz. Thalia selected the original tenants for Westbeth, the largest artists housing project in the country, where the family lived alongside artists like Diane Arbus and Merce Cunningham. Introduced to Sam Francis as a child, Gabrielle’s interest in his life, career and the desire that drove his extraordinary contributions expanded while she was researching and writing Unstill Life.

Gabrielle has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times, Literary Hub, The Daily Beast, More Magazine, The Rumpus, and the L.A. Times. Her fiction has appeared in Fiction Magazine and her art criticism in Art Papers, Hyperallergic, and Newsday. She is a recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction and is a Moth Story Slam Winner.

She earned her BA in Art History from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and her MA in Writing from City College in New York. She has held the position of Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s College of California

Gabrielle is a member of the San-Francisco-based writing group North 24th Writers, whose members have published more than two dozen nonfiction books. She has an adult son and lives in Oakland, California.



Publications & Prizes

Light on Fire: The Art and Life of Sam Francis (University of California Press, 2021)
UnStill Life: A Daughter's Memoir of Art and Love in the Age of Abstraction (W. W. Norton & Company, 2014)
Huffington Post
Literary Hub
Los Angeles Times
New Yorker
The New York Times
Prizes won: 

Best Memoir of the Year from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. New York Foundation for the Art Fellowship in Non-Fiction. Moth Story Slam Winner. 


More Information

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New York, NY
New York
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Last update: Jan 16, 2022