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Sena Jeter Naslund profile

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Sena Jeter Naslund

Founding Editor of The Louisville Review and Best-Selling Author


  • Ideas of Human Dignity and Social Justice
  • Weaving Together Memory and Imagination, History and Invention



Sena Jeter Naslund is the best-selling author of the novels Abundance, Ahab’s Wife and Four Spirits, Adam & Eve (William Morrow) and most recently  The Fountain of St. James Court; or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman (William Morrow).  Her fiction has been published in such journals as The Paris Review, The Georgia Review, The Iowa Review, The Michigan Quarterly Review (where she won the Lawrence Prize in fiction), The Indiana Review, and The Alaska Quarterly Review. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and the Kentucky Arts Council.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Naslund’s mother taught music and her father was a physician. Her talent as a cellist in high school earned her a spot with the Alabama Pops Orchestra and a scholarship to attend the University of Alabama, which she turned down in order to study writing at Birmingham-Southern College. There, Naslund’s gifts were noticed by an English professor who arranged for her to attend the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference.

After graduating from Birmingham-Southern, she was accepted by the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa where she received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in creative writing. In 1971 she was hired as a Visiting Professor in the M.F.A program at the University of Montana. The following year, she accepted the teaching position she now holds at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, where she directed the creative writing program and was awarded the university’s first Distinguished Teaching Professor honor.

In 1976, she founded the Louisville Review, now housed at Spalding University, along with the Fleur-de-Lis Press. She is also on the M.F.A faculty of Vermont College.

Her other books include Ice Skating at the North, The Animal Way to Love, Sherlock in Love, and The Disobedience of Water.

A winner of the Harper Lee Award, Naslund lives in Louisville with her husband John C. Morrison, an atomic physicist; and her daughter Flora.

Praise for Sena Jeter Naslund:

"The Get Lit! Festival audience noted Sena Jeter Naslund's vast imagination and enjoyed finding out more about the author, her process, and her inspiration for giving voice to a new viewpoint in Ahab's Wife. She also offered great insights into writing from differing perspectives in a panel discussion earlier in the week."
Danielle Ward, Eastern Washington University

“If you read one book about Marie Antoinette, let it be Sena Jeter Naslund’s gripping, gabby and beautifully poignant novel. Naslund’s writing is sumptuous and personal, and she manages to make that most remote of subjects—an 18th century queen—relatable to modern times. You know how her story ends. But the journey is so abundant with joy, grief and all those ordinary events that make up our lives, you’ll lose your head reading about it.”
USA Today

“Enchanting...Opulent and fabulous, as encrusted with detail as one of Marie’s shimmering dresses, and the story itself is a complete page turner. Grade: A”
Entertainment Weekly

“Exceptional...A richly detailed portrait of an opulent, turbulent time, revealing the Queen’s journey from frivolity to responsibility, and from palace to prison cell to be one of striking beauty and terrible loss. 4 stars.”