Pamela Erens’s most recent novel, Eleven Hours, was published in 2016 by Tin House Books in the U.S. and Atlantic Books in the U.K. It also appeared in Israel (Keter) in 2017. Eleven Hours is the visceral story of two women, nurse and patient—both with complicated pasts—and the fear, regret, and hope in the moments leading up to childbirth.
Eleven Hours was named a Best Book of 2016 by NPR, The New Yorker, Kirkus, Literary Hub, Entropy, and the Irish Independent. It received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Library Journal, and was lauded by publications ranging from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to specialized literary sites such as Book Riot and The Millions.
Pamela's second novel, The Virgins, was published by Tin House Books in 2013. Publishers Weekly has named it one of the best boarding school books of all time. It was a New York Times Book Review and Chicago Tribune Editors' Choice and was named a Best Book of 2013 by The New Yorker, The New Republic, Library Journal, and Salon. The novel was a finalist for the John Gardner Book Award for the best book of fiction published in 2013. A U.K. edition (John Murray) appeared in 2014, and a German one (C.H. Beck) in 2015.
In 2014, Tin House Books reissued Pamela's debut novel, The Understory, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing.
Pamela is the recipient of 2015 fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the Wesleyan Writers Conference, and a 2014 fellowship from the Sewanee Writers' Conference. She received the fourth annual 2017 Maplewood Literary Award, previously won by Paul Auster and Dan Barry. Her short fiction, reviews, and essays have appeared in a wide variety of literary, cultural, and mainstream publications, including The New York Times, Slate, Vogue, Elle, Virginia Quarterly Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Tin House, and The Millions, and in the anthologies Visiting Hours and The House That Made Me. She received a Notable Essay citation in Best American Essays 2016.
Pamela has lectured or led workshops at Tin House, Wesleyan Writers Workshop, the Word Cafe series, Centenary College, The Center for Fiction, and Siena College, and has been a visiting writer at the University of Chicago. She also works as a freelance editor of literary fiction and nonfiction.
"Everyone who has the good fortune to pick up one of Erens' two novels becomes a fan. Whether writing about teenagers at boarding school (The Virgins) or a loner at the end of his tether (The Understory), Erens has a gift for making you want to spend time in her characters' company. Then you want to scout her other fans to discuss your good fortune of discovering her talents."
— Reader's Digest, 23 Contemporary Writers You Should Have Read by Now
Photo: Kathryn Huang