December 14, 1951|
Chicago, Illinois, United States
|Occupation||Short story writer, essayist, journalist, professor|
Hempel was born in Chicago, Illinois. She moved to California at age 16, which is where much of her early fiction takes place. She moved to New York City in the mid-seventies. There she connected with writer and editor Gordon Lish, with whom she maintained a long professional relationship. She currently lives in Florida and is professor of creative writing at the University of Florida. She was the Briggs-Copeland Lecturer of English at Harvard University from 2009-2014. Additionally, she teaches fiction in the Low-Residency MFA Program in Writing at Bennington College. She has previously taught at Sarah Lawrence College, Duke University, The New School, Brooklyn College, and Princeton University. She is also a contributing editor at The Alaska Quarterly Review.
A dog enthusiast, Hempel is a founding board member of the Deja Foundation.
Hempel is a former student of Gordon Lish, in whose workshop she wrote several of her first stories. Lish was so impressed with her work that he helped her publish her first collection, Reasons to Live (1985), which includes "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried", the first story she ever wrote. Hempel credits Lish's influence for the lack of pressure she has felt to become a novelist rather than a short story writer. Originally published in TriQuarterly in 1983, "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried" is one of the most extensively anthologized stories of the last quarter century.
Hempel has produced three other collections: At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom (1990), which includes the story “The Harvest”; Tumble Home (1997); and The Dog of the Marriage (2005). Tumble Home was Hempel’s first novella, which she structured as a letter to an unspecified recipient and called "the most personal thing I've ever written." Both “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried” and Tumble Home highlight animals’ ability to express emotions and draw them out of people. In an interview in BOMB Magazine, Hempel explained, "I think there's a purity of feeling there that humans can connect with if we're lucky, or if we're looking for it."
The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel (2006) gathers all the stories from the four earlier books. She co-edited (with Jim Shepard) Unleashed–Poems by Writers’ Dogs (1995), which includes contributions by Edward Albee, John Irving, Denis Johnson, Gordon Lish, Arthur Miller, and many others. She writes articles, essays, and short stories for such publications as Vanity Fair, Interview, BOMB, GQ, ELLE, Harper's Magazine, The Quarterly, and Playboy. Hempel has participated in several conferences including The Juniper Summer Writing Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst's MFA Program for Poets & Writers. In 2015, Hempel judged a flash fiction contest for Nat. Brut magazine.
Generally termed a minimalist writer, along with Raymond Carver, Mary Robison, and Frederick Barthelme, Hempel is one of a handful of writers who has built a reputation based solely on short fiction. Hempel purposefully leaves her stories' narrators unnamed, as "there are more possibilities when you don't pin down a person with a name and an age and a background because then people can bring something to them or take something from them."
Hempel is a recipient of the Hobson Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2006 she was awarded a USA Fellowship grant by United States Artists, an arts advocacy foundation dedicated to the support and promotion of America's top living artists. She won the Ambassador Book Award in 2007 for her Collected Stories, which was also named as one of The New York Times' Ten Best Books of the year. In 2008 she won the Rea Award for the Short Story. In 2009 she received the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction along with Alistair MacLeod. In 2015 Hempel received the John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence from Centenary College.
- "Amy Hempel". Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- "Core Faculty: Amy Hempel, Fiction". Low-Residency MFA in Writing: The Bennington Writing Seminars. n.d. Archived from the original on February 27, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
- "Who We Are". The Deja Foundation. n.d. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
- ""Forty-Eight Ways of Looking at Amy Hempel" by Dave Weich". Powells.com. April 27, 2006. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-15.
- Sherman, Suzan. "Amy Hempel". BOMB Magazine. Spring 1997. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
- "Nat. Brut Flash Fiction Contest - The Writer". The Writer. Retrieved 2016-03-07.
- "PEN/Malamud Award Memorial Reading". Archived from the original on July 25, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2009.
- "Amy Hempel to Receive Centenary's Corrington Award". PR Web. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
- New Stories from the South 2010: The Year's Best
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Amy Hempel|
- Paul Winner (Summer 2003). "Interview with Amy Hempel". The Paris Review.
- Hempel interviewed at Gigantic
- Transcript of interview with Ramona Koval, The Book Show, ABC Radio National
- Interview of Amy Hempel by Rob Hart
- Full text of "Today Will Be A Quiet Day" by Amy Hempel
- Full Text of "Offertory" by Amy Hempel
- Short Story: "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried" on Fictionaut
- Short Story: "The Harvest" at Pif Magazine
- 1997 BOMB Magazine interview of Amy Hempel by Suzan Sherman