Stefan Kiesbye

Associate Professor, Creative Writing

Stefan Kiesbye


(707) 664-2903



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Creative Writing


Born on the Baltic coast, Stefan Kiesbye moved to Berlin in the 1980s. He studied drama and worked in radio before starting a degree in American studies, English, and comparative literature at Berlin’s Freie Universität. A DAAD scholarship brought him to Buffalo, New York, in 1996, and he received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan. His stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. His first book, Next Door Lived a Girl, won the Low Fidelity Press Novella Award, and has been translated into German, Dutch, and Spanish.

Kiesbye’s second novel, Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone, was published by Penguin in 2012. It was a Top Ten pick of Oprah Magazine, made Entertainment Weekly’s Must List, and Slate editor Dan Kois named it one of the best books of the year.

Ars Vivendi Verlag released the the LA Noir Fluchtpunkt Los Angeles (Vanishing Point) in February 2015, and The Staked Plains, a novella, was published by Saddle Road Press that same year. The Gothic novel Knives, Forks, Scissors, Flames (Panhandler Books) came out in October 2016. Die Welt commented that, "Kiesbye is the inventor of the modern German Gothic novel."

The cyber-punk novel Berlingeles appeared in 2018. No Sound to Break, No Moment Clear was the winner of the 2020 Brighthorse Prize for the Novel and will be released in 2022. His latest book, But I Don't Know You is a meditation on belonging, identity, memory, and on the stories we tell ourselves and others about who we were and who we have become. It will be published in February 2022 by Saddle Road Press.

Read more about Stefan on his website.