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Melissa Fay Greene


Melissa Fay Greene was born in Macon, Georgia; moved to Dayton, Ohio, in childhood; graduated from Oberlin College in 1975, and returned to Georgia, where she has lived in Savannah, Athens, Rome, and now Atlanta.

Greene was a witness to the events described in Praying for Sheetrock (1991), the story of a courthouse gang on the rural coast of Georgia and the black community that tried to dislodge it. A finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, Sheetrock was named to the list of 100 works of print, radio, television, and photography cited as the best American journalism of the 20th century and included in Entertainment Weeklys special New Classics edition naming The 100 Best Books of the Last 25 Years.

The Temple Bombing (1996), describes the attack on an Atlanta synagogue during the massive white resistance to de-segregation in the 1950s. Also a National Book Award Finalist, it won the Southern Book Critics Circle Award, the Georgia Author of the Year Award, and the ACLU National Civil Liberties Award.

Last Man Out (2002), tells the story of the 1958 Springhill, Nova Scotia, mine disaster, an Afro-Canadian hero, and an unlikely trip to the Georgia coast by the survivors during which the hero was segregated. It was named a best book of the year by the Chicago Tribune, the Toronto Globe & Mail, the Cox newspaper chain, and the New York Public Library.

There is No Me Without You (Bloomsbury, 2006) is the story of a middle-class Ethiopian widow, who, out of the multiple tragedies in her own life, opens her door to AIDS-orphaned children and is inundated by them, beyond her capacity to care for them all. It tracks the ups-and-downs of her life (from public adoration to denunciation and prison) and follows closely the stories of a dozen stricken families and children, including a few orphans adopted to America. It won Elle Magazines Elles Lettres Readers Prize for Nonfiction, and has been named a Best Book of 2006 by Publishers WeeklyEntertainment Weekly, the Christian Science Monitor, the Chicago Tribune, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Columbus Dispatch, the Anchorage Press, and the Oregonian.

Greene has been a contributor to NPRThe New York Times MagazineThe New YorkerLIFEGood HousekeepingNewsweekThe AtlanticReaders DigestMs.The Wilson QuarterlyRedbook, and She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Don Samuel, a criminal defense attorney. They have been married for 31 years and are the parents of nine children: Molly, Seth, Lee, Lily, Jesse (adopted from Bulgaria), Fisseha, Daniel, Yosef, and Helen (adopted from Ethiopia). Molly lives in San Francisco, working for public radio; Seth is pursuing a Masters in Music at the NYU/Steinhardt School of Music; Lee is studying in Israel; and everyone else lives at home, often expressing disappointment with what theyre having for dinner.