“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 written more than 20 novels, three short story collections, and two nonfiction books, many of which have been New York Times bestsellers. Three of her novels were made into television movies. 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.”
2017 saw the publication of The Story of Arthur Truluv, which Booklist called “redemptive without being maudlin,” depicts an unlikely friendship between a teenage girl and an elderly widower. Richard Russo wrote, “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.”
“Elizabeth Berg writes with humor and a big heart about resilience, loneliness, love and hope. And the transcendence that redeems.”
—Andre Dubus III
Berg’s most recent novel, Night of Miracles, is a sequel to The Story of Arthur Truluv, following some of the same characters as Arthur’s lessons continue to touch others.
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. 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.
For more information on Elizabeth Berg, please visit elizabeth-berg.net.