Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Susan Conley

Fiction, Creative Nonfiction

Office Location

Stonecoast MFA Office: 98 Bedford Street, Portland, ME 04103


Stonecoast MFA Office: 207-780-4423

Academic Degrees

  • MFA, San Diego State University
  • BA, Middlebury College


Susan is the author of five critically-acclaimed books, including her newest, bestselling novel Landslide (Knopf ’21)named a New York Times Editor’s Choice, as well as a Best/Most Anticipated Book of Winter '21 by Good Morning America, The New York Post, Medium, Bustle, Biblio Lifestyle and others. She’s been awarded multiple MacDowell Colony Fellowships, as well as the Breadloaf Workshop Fellowship, the Maine Arts Commission Literary Fellowship, and the Massachusetts Art Commission Fellowship.

Her previous bestselling novel Elsey Come Home (Knopf ’19), was a Most Anticipated/Best Book at Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire Magazine, Amazon Books, Pop Sugar, Huffington Post, Southern Living Magazine, Fodors, Library Journal, Maine Women’s Magazine, and others. Her memoir The Foremost Good Fortune was the first book she published, and it was an Oprah Magazine Top Ten Pick, an Entertainment Weekly Memoir to Read, and winner of the Maine Literary Award for Memoir. Her first novel Paris Was the Place came out after the memoir and was a People Magazine Top Pick, a Slate Magazine Summer Read, and an Elle Magazine Readers Prize Selection. Her third book was another animal: a poetry and photography collaboration called Stop Here This is the Place, which was a Real Simple Magazine Must Read.

Susan has won the Maine Literary Book Award and the Maine Award for Publishing Excellence, and her poetry collection was a finalist for the Walt Whitman Award. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, Lithub, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The New York Times, The Harvard Review, The Daily Beast, The New England Review, Ploughshares and other publications. She has been a featured Tedx Speaker, where her talk, “The "Power of Story,” has been viewed widely. She’s also taught at colleges and international residencies including Emerson College, Colby College, The University of Massachusetts, as the Jack Kerouac Visiting Fellow, The Haystack School, The Spannochia Foundation, La Napoule Foundation, and The Beijing Hutong.

Susan lives in Portland, Maine with her husband and two sons, where she is a founder of The Telling Room, a youth creative writing center guided by a belief in social justice and the power of stories to change ourselves and the communities we live in.

Recent Publications

Landslide, a novel (Knopf 2021)

Elsey Come Home, a novel (Knopf 2019)

Stop Here This is the Place, a poetry/photography collaboration (Downeast Books 2016)

Paris Was the Place, a novel (Knopf 2013)

The Foremost Good Fortune, a memoir (Knopf 2010)

Book Excerpts in O Magazine Online, The Daily Beast, The New York Times Magazine, She Writes and Maine Magazine

Creative Activity

I am currently working on a new novel about women and sex and power.

Awards and Recognition

Two MacDowell Colony Fellowships

Broadloaf Writers Conference Fellowship

Massachusetts Arts Council Fellowship

Jack Kerouac Visiting Writer Fellowship, UMASS Lowell

Maine Arts Commission Literary Fellowship

Elle Magazine Readers Prize Selection

Maine Literary Award for Publishing Excellence

Maine Literary Award for Memoir

Portland Press Herald’s “Women to Watch in Maine” Award