Lucia Berlin: Biography

Lucia Berlin

12 nov 1936

Lucia Berlin was one of the authors who achieved the best-selling author status eleven years after her death. Though she was not a best-seller initially, Lucia was very popular in the literary world. Many compared her works to that of Raymond Carver and Richard Yates. Lucia’s noted work and the most praised was the incredible one-page story named, ‘My Jockey’ which also won the Jack London Short Prize for 1985.

Adorable Lucia Berlin was born as Lucia Brown in Alaska on Nov 12, 1936. She has been a fighter all her life. She had Scoliosis, a painful spinal condition that she carried with her from the age of 10. Although Lucia started to write early by 1960s, she published them only during 1981 due to the encouragement received from poet Ed Dorn.

While continuing her passion in writing, Lucia also did many jobs as a high-school teacher, switch board operator, a cleaning woman, hospital clerk and as an assistant to a physician, to raise her four sons whom she had of three marriages.

Many stories written by Lucia were published in magazines such as, ’The Atlantic’ and ‘The Noble Savage’. Most of her short stories were compressed in books like ‘Black Sparrow Books: Homesick: New and Selected Stories’, ‘So Long: Stories’ and ‘Where I Live Now: Stories’. ‘Homesick’ was honoured with an American Book Award in 1991 and was also awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for Arts.

Although Lucia was losing her health, it is noted that she sold more books during the last two weeks before her death and the sales were also very low. Due to complications caused by Lung Cancer, Lucia passed away on Nov 12, 2004.

It was only after 11 years of Lucia’s death, her story; ‘A Manual for Cleaning Woman’ became New York Times Best Seller. It is indeed very sad, but it proved Lucia Berlin’s talent to the world.