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Bernestine Singley's Biography

Member Info

Southwest US
Together for 24 years, married for 22 to one of the world's most outstanding human beings
May 2009

I began my professional life as a lawyer in Boston after graduating from Harvard Law School 12 years before Michelle and 15 before Barack. I'm thrilled to claim them as part of my personal legacy. After practicing law a dozen years, the last three in Dallas, I left law to run an engineering company in Chicago. If you've ever been to a baseball game at "New" Comiskey Park (US Cellular Field as of 2003), you can thank my engineers that it didn't collapse when everyone jumped up and down at the same time. Having been a writer since I first learned to do it, I Became a Real Writer when I applied for a residency at the MacDowell Colony and was accepted. (Pathetic, but true that it took that to finally convince me.) My first book was published in 2002.  Driven by the terror my "first" will remain my "only," I recently mailed my memoir manuscript to my agent. Now, I traipse back and forth among three nonfiction manuscripts, a novel, articles, essays, book reviews, and blog posts. I suspect 99.9% of what I've written will remain housed in duffel bags in my walk-in closet, two stuffed file cabinets in my garage, and seven file drawers in my office. 

Influences

Odessa Roberts Singley (my mama), Ilda Johnson Green (my 9th grade English teacher with whom I still have amazing conversations), Walter O. Weyrauch (law professor), Derrick Bell (my law professor and Master's thesis advisor), James Baldwin, Thornton Wilder, Harper Lee, Alice Walker, Jamaica Kincaid, David Haynes, Barbara Neely, and Mildred A. Wirt Benson.

Upcoming Works

BloodWork: My Life Among White Folks (a memoir)
Ten for 10: The Pig on the Roof and Other Essays from Cuba (travel essays)
The Odessa Chronicles (short, lively, humorous stories about my mom's parenting philosophy)
The Posse (a novel about "cougars," revenge, and redemption)

Agents

Ben Camardi
Harold Matson Co, Inc.
276 Fifth Avenue, Room 903
New York, NY 10001
(212) 679-4490

Recommended Links

Publishers

Chicago Review Press - Lawrence Hill Books (former)
Southern Illinois University Press (current)

Interests & Hobbies

Reading, writing, hiking, traveling, swimming, long-distance driving, computer chess, NYTimes crossword puzzle, tennis, want to re-learn to play the violin and speak French, desperately yearn to become fluent in Spanish