Photo by Carole Steinberg Berk

Greatest Hits: And Some That Weren't. Selected Essays and Memoirs 1990-2015 Carmike Press/Seahorse Books Order at

Interview with Michael Steinberg Oct/Nov 2010 Vol 23 No.2

Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction, Michael Steinberg, Founding Editor Tribute Issue



---Panel (with Hope Edelman, Richard Hoffman, Mimi Schwartz and Desirae Matherly)--"When Writers Repeat Themselves: New Disguises or Fresh Approaches? " NonfictionNOW International Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland, June 2



---Greatest Hits and Some That Weren’t--eleven selected essay/​memoirs on/​about childhood, baseball, place, aging, travel, teaching, and writing is now available from Amazon or Carmike Press/​Seahorse Books (carmikepress@​ June 3

-- "Living in Michigan, Dreaming Manhattan: A Meditation on Memory and Place" (originally published in the Great Lakes Review (Fall, 2015) was chosen as a "Notable Essay" in the The Best American Essays (2016) annual anthology. It was also nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize.

-- “Confronting Demons, Staring Down Fears: Transforming Our Deepest Misfortunes into in Literary Works” Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, /​16, Assay Journal. Jan 3

--Book Review: In December, River Teeth's (online) " A Craft He Would, Thankfully, Never Learn," a review of Donald Murray's memoir My Twice-Lived Life.

In the 70's and 80's, the writer and master teacher, Donald Murray, was a mentor to many of us who later went on to became writers, teachers, and advocates for the genre we're now calling creative nonfiction. His memoir is not only a smart, insightful narrative on/​about aging, but a treasure trove of insights and advice on/​about writing. You can find the full review at Sport Literate

--Talking Creative Nonfiction with Michael Steinberg," Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices, Summer issue


--Reading: "from Living in New York, Dreaming Manhattan," Literati Book Store, Ann Arbor, MI, January 7

--Reading: "from Living in New York, Dreaming Manhattan," Leelanau County Library Northport, MI, June 25

--Panel: AWP National Convention, "Old Neighborhoods, New Locales: How Place Shapes Our Writing and our Literary Identities " with Phillip Lopate, Mimi Schwarta, Renee D’Aoust, and Karen Babine, April 1, 2o16, , Los Angeles, CA

--Panel: On Repeating Ourselves in Our Writing, (with Pat Madden, Ana Maria Spagna, and Hope Edelman) River Teeth Writer's Conference Ashland, Ohio, June 2-5


-- Writer-in-Residence,:Solstice/​Pine Manor College MFA Summer Residency, Reading and Workshop (on/​about personae/​unreliable narrators) Boston, MA July 11-13.

--Visiting Writer: Riverside City College: Reading, Craft Talk, and class visit. Riverside, CA: April 5,

--Visiting Writer: Pomona College, Class Visit and Q and A,. Clarmont, CA, April 6


--Contest Judge: AWP 2016 Award Series Book Prize in Creative Nonfiction AWP 2016 Award Series

Broken Country: On Trauma, A Crime, And The Continuing Legacy of Vietnam by Paisley Rektal was the winner. In 2017, the University of Georgia Press will release the book.

-- Contest Judge: Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices, Summer, 2016 Creative Nonfiction judge. The winner: "In Remembrance" by Melanie Brooks Solstice Magazine Contest



--Sport Literate,” Maybe, Just Maybe, This Time…" Two short shorts, Fall, 2015

--Great Lakes Review, “Living in Michigan, Dreaming Manhattan: A Meditation on Memory and Place, " Summer/​Fall, 2015

-- Essay Daily, “ Thoughts On/​About Best American Essays, 1991” December 24 , 2015
Essay Daily

--SolLit Selects: Writings From the First Five Years,"One Story, Two Narrators: Reflection’s Role In Writing and Teaching Personal Narratives" "Summer, 2015

--TriQuarterly, "A Sometimes (But Not Always) Autobiographical l"
Spring, 2015 Triquarterly


--Talking Creative Nonfiction with Michael Steinberg," a short interview, Solstice Literary Magazine, June 29, 2015
The Solstice Literary Magazine

-- AWP In the Spotlight Award, July, 2015 AWP Spotlight Award


--NonFictionNow Conference, University of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff AZ, October 30-Nov 1, 2015.
--Two panels--"Looking for Real-life Humberts: Fashioning Unreliable Narrators in
Creative Nonfiction" and "The I Or The Eye: The Narrator's Role in Literary

-- Northwestern Writer’s Conference, Chicago, July 30 - August 1
Workshop: Two Narrators, One Story: The Role of Reflection in Personal Narratives
Panel: Creative Nonfiction: Where It’s Been, Where It’s Going

-- Solstice/​Pine Manor MFA Residency, Chestnut Hill, MA, July 12-15

Workshop Writing Backward, Moving Forward: Using Pointed Flashbacks in Memoirs and Fictional Narratives" and a Reading with Sandra Schofield and Laure-Anne Bosselar

-- AWP Minneapolis. Two panels--Fashioning a Text: Discovering Form
and Shape in Literary Nonfiction and Confronting Our Fears: Turning Adversity into
Art, April 9, 2015,

--Visiting Writer, Warren Community College, Washington NJ, master class and
readingFeb 26



--TriQuarterly, Planning For Surprise: Writing and Teaching the Personal EssayTriquarterly

--Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices, "One Story, Two Narrators: Reflection’s Role In Writing and Teaching Personal Narratives" Solstice
Different versions have appeared on my blog # 3, Finding the Inner Story in Literary Nonfiction and # 19 and 20, Expecting the Unexpected: The Role of Discovery and Surprise in Literary Nonfiction. You can find both in the Archives blog


-- Solstice/​ Pine Manor MFA residency-- reading, individual conferences, and craft talk, July 13-16 2014, Boston, MA,"One Story"Two Voices: The Reflective Narrator in Personal Essays and Memoir Solstice MFA

-- Craft talk, Composition Faculty, Santa Barbara CA, City College, Santa Barbara, CA March 10, 2014,

--AWP Convention, Seattle, WA. Two panels: "The Eye or the 'I'" and "Planning For Surprise." February 26-March 2, 2014


--Dzanc Books publishedStill Pitching as an ebook reprint, July, 2013
Still Pitching on,, Kobo Books and Barnes and Noble --TriQuarterly, "Did It Really Happen That Way?: The Memoirist As Unreliable Narrator," adapted from an AWP panel talk in March, 2013. --TriQuarterly, "The Unreliable Narrator in Creative Nonfiction" (href="">Triquarterly .


--AWP Boston, Panel: "Looking for Real-life Humberts: The Unreliable Narrator
in Creative Nonfiction"Feb 2013 6-9

--River Teeth Writer's Conference, Ashland University, Ashland Ohio May 17-19, 2013,
Panel on Structure in Memoir with Joe Mackall and Jill Christman and individual manuscript conferences

--Sanibel Island Writer's Conference, craft talk on double voice narratives , a reading, and individual manuscript workshops, November 7-10, 2013 Sanibel

.--Visiting Writer, University of Central Florida.,November 4 and 5, 2013, A series of class visits, a craft talk on voice and persona, and a reading

SELECTED SINGLE WORKS: 1990-2012, See My Works: Under Construction


I was born in New York, in Rockaway Beach, Queens, and I came of age in the 1950s. When I became a mid-life memoirist, I found that my richest work invariably resulted from my having mined my most vivid and powerful childhood and adolescent memories. In writing the memoir, Still Pitching, I discovered that almost everything important that shaped my adult identity--my passion for baseball, my love of books, theater, rock and roll, jazz and travel, as well as my stubborn tenacity and persistence, my sense of myself as an outsider, and my predilection for kvetching--all grew out of my New York upbringing. I left New York when I was twenty-five and came to Michigan State in the mid-60s to get an M.A. and Ph.D. in English.

Since I was a child, I've loved books and writing. In fact, I'd always harbored dreams becoming a writer. But I didn't seriously pursue that impulse until I was in my mid-forties--the reason being that I was not a very good poet or fiction writer--the two legitimate literary forms at the time. And because I'd read and taught so much "great" literature, I'd virtually talked myself into believing that my own writing would never measure up. For many years then, I was a writing/​composition teacher, a journalist, an occasional playwright, and a director of plays. Early on in my teaching career, however, I'd become enamored of the personal essay. I continued to write, write about, and teach the essay for almost two decades. In the early-90s, when literary/​creative nonfiction became more prominent, I began sending my work out to literary journals. At the same time, I wrote several essays about the form. In 1992, I went back to school, and in 1994, I got my M.F.A. in Creative Writing. In the last several years, literary/​creative nonfiction has become widely recognized as a legitimate form of literary writing. I've been writing, teaching, and writing about the genre ever since.

SELECTED CV 1990-2016


In addition to founding the award-winning journal Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction, Michael Steinberg has written and edited six books and a stage play.


Greatest Hits and Some That Weren’t: Selected Personal Essays and Memoirs, 1990-2015, Carmike Press/​Seahorse Books, 2016

Still Pitching: A Memoir (e-boook) , Dzanc Books, 2013

Still Pitching: A Memoir, winner, the ForeWord Magazine/​Independent Press Memoir of the Year. Michigan State University Press, 2003

Peninsula: Essays and Memoirs From Michigan, Finalist, 2000 ForeWord Magazine/​Independent Press, and the Great Lakes Book Sellers Anthology of the Year, Michigan State University Press, 2000

An anthology of Michigan writers and writing.

The Fourth Genre: Contemporary Writers of/​on Creative Nonfiction (with Robert Root,) six editions, Simon and Schuster/​Allyn and Bacon, Longman/​Pierson 1998-2016

Now in a sixth edition, The Fourth Genre is a standard classroom text in a number of Creative Writing and advanced Composition courses.

Those Who Do, Can: Teachers Writing, Writers Teaching, National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), 1996. Also co-authored with Robert Root

Those Who Do, Can is a sourcebook on/​about writing and teaching

The Writer’s Way: A Process to-Product Approach to Writing (With Clinton S. Burhans Jr), Spring Press, eight editions; 1979-1987

The Writer’s Way is one of the first textbooks to use a process approach to teaching writing.


I'm Almost Famous, (with Bob Baldori). Produced at Apollo Theater in Chicago August/​September, 1984 with earlier productions at the Boarshead Theater, Lansing, Mi; The Wharton Center For Performing Arts East Lansing MI; and Les Idees, Grand Rapids, MI


From 1990 to the present, Steinberg has published numerous personal essays and memoirs, as well as craft essays and interviews in dozens of literary journals--Missouri Review, New Letters, Florida Review, AWP Writer’s Chronicle, among many others. His personal essays and memoirs have won several national awards, including The Missouri Review Editor's Prize, The National Harness Racing Writers of America Award for Feature Writing, a Writing Self Award, and a Roberts Writing Award. Several of his shorter works have been cited as "Notable Essays” in Best American Essays and Best American Sports Writing. Others have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
(For titles and publications, See MY WORKS: SELECTED SHORTER WORKS)

He has also written reviews for The New York Times Sunday Book Review, as well as many feature magazine articles for national and regional magazines. From 1974-1976, he wrote a bimonthly column for the Detroit Free Press Sunday Magazine.


In 1998, Steinberg founded the award-winning journal Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction--one of three literary journals that exclusively publish works of creative/​literary nonfiction.


From 1984-1993, Steinberg directed ten contemporary plays (Sam Shepard's True West" and Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles" among them). All were staged in mid-Michigan theaters. Eight plays won a Lansing State Journal "Thesbie"award for directing, acting, and/​or best drama.


Steinberg was a professor of literature and writing at Michigan State University for some 30-plus years. Currently, he’s the nonfiction writer-in residence and a member of the founding faculty of the Solstice/​Pine Manor College low residency MFA program in Boston

In July, 2015, the Associated Writing Programs (AWP) chose him for a Spotlight Award, a career prize for distinguished teaching in creative writing. AWP also chose him to participate in the Writer-to-Writer program, a service that matches volunteering mentors with aspiring writers.

Steinberg has also been a visiting writer at many colleges and universities. In June of 2007, he was the Distinguished Nonfiction Writer-in-Residence at the NYU Summer Writing Intensive. In addition, he’s presented workshops, craft talks, and seminars
at a number of national and international writers' conferences: the Prague Summer Writing Program, the Paris Writer's Conference, the Geneva (Switzerland) Writer's Conference, the Kachemak Bay Writer’s Conference (Alaska,) the California State University Summer Arts Festival, the Chautauqua Summer Writer’s Conference, and the Sanibel Island Writer’s Conference—among others

In 1986, he co-founded and co-coordinated (with Bob Root) the Traverse Bay Summer Writing Workshops for Teachers (1986-1993), and the Michigan State University Overseas Writing Program (1990-1993). He has also been on the faculty of three low-residency MFA programs: Vermont College, Stonecoast/​University of Southern Maine, and currently, the Solstice/​Pine Manor College program in Boston.


Steinberg has a PhD and MA in American Literature from Michigan State University, a MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and a BA in English/​Theater Arts from Hofstra University.

He and his wife, visual artist Carole Steinberg Berk, divide their time between Lansing and Northport, Michigan


“My favorite book of the year. An astonishing look at the pains of growing up.”
--Dan Smith, WVTF Virginia, Public Radio
“Wherever readers look, they’ll find a different essay, a different voice, a different Michigan.”
-- Crab Orchard Review
Anthology of/on Creative Nonfiction
“Offers the most thorough and teachable introduction available to this exciting genre.”
--John Boe, Editor, Writing on the Edge
Stage Play
"An evening of energy, hot music, laughs and sheer entertainment." Lansing State Journal
"Root and Steinberg will be on the shelf near my desk that holds the most important books about the teaching of writing." -Donald Murray, A Writer Teaches Writing and Write to Learn
Literary Journal
"Fourth Genre is the Paris Review of nonfiction journals."
Writing/Teaching Text
The Writer’s Way is the best book I’ve found yet for teaching first quarter Freshmen their first English writing sequence….” Dr. Sheila Coghill, Moorhead State University.

Quick Links