Gayle Brandeis grew up in the Chicago area and has been writing poems and stories since she was four years old. She is the author of Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write (HarperOne), Dictionary Poems (Pudding House Publications), the novels The Book of Dead Birds (HarperCollins), which won Barbara Kingsolver’s Bellwether Prize for Fiction of Social Engagement, Self Storage (Ballantine) and Delta Girls (Ballantine), and her first novel for young readers, My Life with the Lincolns (Holt), which won a Silver Nautilus Book Award and was chosen as a state-wide read in Wisconsin. 2017 brought the release of two books: a collection of poetry, The Selfless Bliss of the Body (Finishing Line Press) and a memoir, The Art of Misdiagnosis: Surviving My Mother’s Suicide (Beacon Press.) Her novel in poems, Many Restless Concerns: The Victims of Countess Bathory Speak in Chorus (A Testimony) was published by Black Lawrence Press February, 2020.
Gayle’s poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies (such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, O, The Oprah Magazine, Longreads, Salon, The Rumpus, The Nation, and The Mississippi Review, and many others) and have received several awards, including the QPB/Story Magazine Short Story Award, a Barbara Mandigo Kelley Peace Poetry Award, a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and Notable Essays in Best American Essays 2016, 2019, and 2020. Her essay on the meaning of liberty was one of three included in the Statue of Liberty’s Centennial time capsule in 1986, when she was 18. In 2004, the Writer Magazine honored Gayle with a Writer Who Makes a Difference Award.
Gayle currently teaches in the low residency MFA programs at Antioch University Los Angeles and Sierra Nevada University, where she was named Distinguished Visiting Professor/Writer in Residence 2014-2015. She served as Inlandia Literary Laureate from 2012-2014, acting as literary ambassador to and for the Inland Empire region of Southern California. During her tenure, she worked extensively with the community, including at-risk youth, and edited the anthology ORANGELANDIA: The Literature of Inland Citrus. Gayle is the founding editor of the online journal, Lady/Liberty/Lit. She is also mom to kids born in 1990, 1993 and 2009.