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classic fantasy & science fiction   Phyllis Eisenstein

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headshot of Phyllis Eisenstein
1946 - PD


Phyllis Eisenstein was born and grew up in Chicago. She attended the University of Chicago where she majored in chemistry, then English, then psychology, then dropped out after 3 years to marry Alex. She then joined her husband in Germany and lived there for a couple of years while he was in the Air Force. She said, "There's nothing like being forced to live in a foreign country to make you appreciate the country of your birth."

After going back to school and getting a B.A. in Anthropology, Eisenstein sold her first story in 1969. Since then she has sold thirty-some stories, six novels, and one nonfiction book. She's written book reviews for two Chicago newspapers as well as nonfiction for various publications. She is has also taught various workshops, including Writers Digest School and at local colleges, and has been adjunct faculty at Columbia College since 1989.

She notes, "I grew up as a butcher in the family grocery store, so when I became a teacher it was fairly hard for my students to gross me out in their writing (some of them tried!)." She now works in advertising at the largest ad agency in Chicago. She's been nominated for three Nebulas and two Hugos, and has won the SF Chronicle award and the Balrog Award, which, she notes, is the "heaviest award ever in SF world." Her most recent books are The Book of Elementals (an omnibus edition of two of her novels) and Night Lives (a short story collection). She currently has an unsold novel and is looking for publisher while trying to write next novel. And she's still married to Alex.


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