“Before I became a writer, I was a registered nurse for ten years, and that was my ‘school’ for writing—taking care of patients taught me a lot about human nature, about hope and fear and love and loss and regret and triumph and especially about relationships—all things that I tend to focus on in my work.”
Women in transition are the focus of Elizabeth Berg’s fiction, from a teenager grieving the loss of her mother to a woman nursing her best friend through terminal cancer. “Berg always takes on the big issues: living, loving and loss,” writes Ruth Coughlin in People. Warm without being sentimental, optimistic without being cloying, and eminently readable, Berg has over 4 million copies of her books in print. She has written more than 20 novels, three short story collections, and two nonfiction books, many of which have been New York Times bestsellers. She has also been honored with the NEBA Award for her body of work.
“Elizabeth Berg has carved out a place as one of America’s most beloved chroniclers of female friendship.”
—The Chicago Tribune
Berg’s first novel, Durable Goods, won the ALA Best Book of the Year award. Set on a Texas army base in the 1960s, Durable Goods is the story of two teenage girls whose abusive father, an army officer, treats them as if they were boot-camp recruits. Among Berg’s other beloved titles are Talk Before Sleep, about the friendship between a nurse and a dying woman; Open House, an Oprah’s Book Club pick about a woman recreating her life after divorce; and The Dream Lover, about the 19th-century novelist George Sand. USA Today named The Dream Lover one of the 10 best books of the year, and The Chicago Tribune called it “an illuminating portrait of a magnificent woman whose story is enriched by the delicate brush strokes of Berg’s colorful imagination.”
“Elizabeth Berg writes with humor and a big heart about resilience, loneliness, love and hope. And the transcendence that redeems.”
—Andre Dubus III
2017 saw the publication of The Story of Arthur Truluv, about an unlikely friendship between a teenage girl and an elderly widower. Of the book, Richard Russo said, “I don’t know if I’ve ever read a more affecting book about the natural affinity between the young and the elderly than Elizabeth Berg’s The Story of Arthur Truluv. It makes the rest of us—strivers and preeners and malcontents—seem almost irrelevant.” She followed it with a sequel, Night of Miracles, which revisits some of the same characters as Arthur’s lessons continue to touch others. People wrote, “Happy, sad, sweet and slyly funny. [Night of Miracles] celebrates the nourishing comfort of community and provides a delightfully original take on the cycles of life.” Berg’s latest novel, The Confession Club, is about a group of female friends and their secrets, set in the Truluv community of Mason, Missouri. The Confession Club was named an Editors’ Pick by Amazon and Publishers Weekly praised it as “a feel-good testament to taking risks, falling love, and reinvention.”
Up next is the forthcoming I’ll Be Seeing You: A Memoir. When her devoted parents develop signs of aging, Berg and her siblings are placed in the difficult position of taking over more and more supportive roles for their aging parents. They offer practical advice, emotional support, and direction, to the best of their ability–to, in effect, parent the people who had for so long parented them. Gracefully guiding readers through the emotional and physical challenges involved in assisting loved ones through the final stages of life, Berg navigates her own heartache and loss while confronting the brighter, funny and endearing memories. I’ll Be Seeing You will be released in fall 2020.
Berg began her career as a columnist for both New Woman and Parents. Her article on a cooking school in Positano, Italy for National Geographic Traveler magazine won the NATJA travel writing award. Three of her novels have been made into television movies and she adapted The Pull of the Moon into a play that enjoyed sold-out runs in Indianapolis and Chicago. In 2018, she received the State of Illinois Literary Heritage Award for her “extraordinary contributions to literary culture.” Berg lectures on her most recent books, the stories behind her stories, and the craft of writing. She lives in Oak Park, Illinois, but is a frequent visitor to San Francisco and Boston.