Ellen Lesser is the author of the short fiction collection, The Shoplifter’s Apprentice (Simon & Schuster) and two novels, The Other Woman (Simon & Schuster) and The Blue Streak (Grove.) Stories from the Shoplifter’s volume have been performed in the “Selected Shorts” series on National Public Radio, reprinted in Houghton Mifflin’s Images of Women in Literature, and selected by Robin MacArthur for the Green Writers Press anthology, Contemporary Vermont Fiction.

Ellen is currently busy completing a linked collection of stories about mothers and daughters in crisis around drug addiction, intervention, and recovery, titled The Light in You. (To hear an excerpt from the story “Talk,” click on the audio file on this page.) Work from the cycle has appeared in The Iowa ReviewThe Antioch ReviewNorth American Reviewupstreet, and Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers; received three Pushcart Prize nominations; and earned a 2017 Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council. Ellen’s fiction, criticism, and literary interviews have also appeared in The Missouri ReviewMississippi ReviewEpochThe Southern ReviewNew England Review, and The Village Voice, among other places. Her essays on fictional craft have been featured in The Writer’s Chronicle and in craft anthologies including Words Overflown by Stars (edited by David Jauss).

A long-time member of the MFA in Writing faculty, she also teaches in and directs VCFA’s annual Postgraduate Writers’ Conference, which turned 25 in the year 2020. Ellen is a graduate of Yale College and received her MFA in the Vermont College program. A native of New York City and its near suburbs, she thrives as a transplant to a hilltop in East Montpelier, VT.


MFA - Writing | Vermont College

BA - Literature | Yale

Selected work

Barbara Hurd

Faculty, MFA in Writing [CNF]

T. Geronimo Johnson

Faculty, MFA in Writing [fiction]

Harrison Candelaria Fletcher

Faculty, MFA in Writing [CNF]

Natasha Sajé

Faculty, MFA in Writing [poetry/CNF]

Tarfia Faizullah

Faculty, MFA in Writing [poetry]

Patrick Madden

Faculty, MFA in Writing [CNF/hybrid forms]