Melissa Febos

“Anyone who makes a life of what they love is a hero to me, and it’s important for those people to be visible in every kind of life, every kind of love, every kind of work”

A fearless voice in literary non-fiction, Melissa Febos uses stories from her life to render the transforming power of obsession. Nowhere is this more apparent than in her most recent book, Abandon Me. A memoir consisting of interlinked essays, Abandon Me tells parallel stories of a consuming infatuation and a past struggle with substance abuse. However, it quickly becomes clear that for writer possessed with Febos’ extraordinary lyrical voice and natural empathy, the same single mindedness that once led her down these self-destructive paths can also be harnessed to create a fulfilling and creative life.


Joining the likes of Elizabeth Gilbert and Cheryl Strayed, Febos’ voice has become an inspiring - and galvanizing - call to draw strength from the darkest periods of one’s life and to live more truthfully to oneself. Her TED Talk, “Telling Your Secrets Can Set You Free” as well as her appearances on NPR’s Fresh Air and CNN demonstrate her sense of humor and displays her innate ability to connect deeply with the wide variety of audiences to whom she has spoken.

"Her mastery over metaphor is astonishing . . . What might be mere navel-gazing for a less brilliant author is made powerfully universal here. Though the particulars are hers, just about anyone can relate to the feeling of a chasm opening up inside. Febos’ awakening to her full identity, even its ugliness, is a powerful and redemptive epic." - ​Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Febos is also the author of the acclaimed memoir Whip Smart, about the time she spent working as a dominatrix while completing her undergraduate degree in New York. She was praised by The Economist as “ too self-aware to not see her past clearly, and too talented a writer to not make it fascinating.”  Her writing has appeared in Tin House, Granta, Glamour, Guernica, the New York Times, the Guardian,, the Chronicle of Higher Education Review, Bitch Magazine, Poets & Writers, and The Rumpus. Currently an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Monmouth University, she also serves on the board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and curates literary events and teaches workshops in addition to her speaking engagements. The daughter of a sea captain and a psychotherapist, she was raised on Cape Cod and lives in Brooklyn.


"Melissa Febos was such a delight to work with from beginning until the end. At the event she read a piece was exactly on the theme of the evening; it was at once hilarious and thought-provoking and gorgeously written. She also did a fabulous job teaching a three hour class the following day, the students were raving about it in her evaluations. We would love to have her return any time"

--Christine Texeira, Hugo House