Melissa Fay Greene

1708 East Clifton Road
Atlanta, Georgia 30307

Melissa was born in Macon, Georgia, December 30, 1952, moved to Dayton, Ohio, in childhood, and graduated from Oberlin College in 1975. She returned to Georgia in ’75 to work for the Savannah office of Georgia Legal Services and was a witness to most of the events about which she later would write in Praying for Sheetrock.

Praying for Sheetrock (1991) is the story of the political awakening of the isolated African-American community of coastal McIntosh County and the downfall of the corrupt courthouse gang. It was a National Book Award finalist and a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. It won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, the Lillian Smith Award, the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, the QPB New Voices Award, the Annisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Georgia Author Award, the first Reginald Heber Smith Book Award of the National Equal Justice Library, the Salon Book Award, and a Lyndhurst Prize Fellowship. It premiered as a play in the spring of 1997, produced by Lifeline Theater in Chicago. Sheetrock was named one of the top 100 works of American journalism in the 20th century by a panel of judges under the aegis of New York University School of Journalism.

The Temple Bombing (1996) is about the attack on an Atlanta synagogue in October 1958, part of the violent white resistance to desegregation. It, too, was also a National Book Award finalist and won the Southern Book Critics Circle Award, the Georgia Author of the Year Award, the Georgia Historical Society Book Award, Hadassah's Myrtle Wreath Award, and the ACLU National Civil Liberties Award. It was one of half-a-dozen newspapers' "Best Books of 1996" and was a N.Y.Times Notable Book.

Last Man Out (Harcourt, 2003) is the story of the 1958 mine disaster in Springhill, Nova Scotia, one of the world’s first televised disasters. A handful of men survived a week underground without light, food, or water; those rescued were then invited to recuperate on beautiful Jekyll Island, Georgia, as part of a Georgia tourism PR ploy. But Georgia was segregated, the governor was an outspoken white supremacist, and one of the heroes of the underground was black. Last Man Out was a New York Times Notable Book and was named one of the best books of the year by the Chicago Tribune, the Toronto Globe & Mail, the Cox newspaper chain, and the New York Public Library.

Greene is a regular contributor to The New York Times Magazine and Good Housekeeping. She also writes for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Readers Digest, Newsweek, Life, The Washington Post, Ms, and Parenting. She has been a frequent guest at CNN and on NPR, and her stories have been featured on Good Morning, America, The Today Show, Primetime, and 20/20. She is married to Donald F. Samuel, a criminal defense attorney, partner in the firm Garland, Samuel & Loeb. They have seven children and live in Atlanta.

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