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Mary Helen Stefaniak

The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia

W.W. Norton & Co.

2011 Fiction

The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia
Wisconsin native Mary Helen Stefaniak grew up in what she refers to as a “bicultural household”: Her father was from Milwaukee, her mother from Gordon, Georgia. 

Stefaniak’s first novel, The Turk and My Mother, won the 2005 John Gardner Book Award, and her collection of short fiction, Self Storage and Other Stories, won the 1998 Wisconsin Library Association’s Banta Award. Her second novel, The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia (W.W. Norton, 2010) takes place during 1938 in rural, Depression-era Georgia. 

A graduate of Marquette University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Stefaniak has taught in the Master of Fine Arts programs at Pacific University in Oregon and the University of Nebraska. She currently divides her professional life between Iowa City, Iowa, and Omaha, Nebraska, where she teaches creative writing at Creighton University. 

Stefaniak’s work has appeared in the Iowa Review, EPOCH, and the Yale Review. She has presented writing workshops and led book discussions from Florida to Alaska. She also has served as a commentator for Iowa Public Radio, a columnist for the Iowa Source, and a contributing editor for the Iowa Review.

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Blog Posts about Mary Helen Stefaniak

Meet 2011 Winner Mary Helen Stefaniak At Cuyahoga County Public Library

Mary Helen Meet Mary Helen Stefaniak, author of The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia. When new teacher, Miss Grace Spivey, arrives and turns the annual festival into an exotic Baghdad Bazaar, the town is thrown into an uproar. Although her progressive spirit proves threatening to some, Miss Spivey succeeds in pushing the limitations of stereotypes and inspiring change. The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia was the winner of a 2011 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction. Books will be available for purchase and signing courtest of the Friends of the Bay Village... Read More →

VIDEO: 2011 Anisfield-Wolf Winner Mary Helen Stefaniak Reads From "The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia"

312233_196770363723228_130822260318039_508014_8375321_n Thinking about picking up a book from one of the 2011 Anisfield-Wolf winners? Check out this brief reading from Mary Helen Stefaniak and see if her 2010 novel, The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia, might make its way onto your Christmas list. Read More →

Ronn Richard 2011 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards Remarks

(Left to Right) David Eltis and David Richardson, authors of “Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade” Isabel Wilkerson, author of “The Warmth of Other Suns” Nicole Krauss, author of “Great House” Mary Helen Stefaniak, author of “The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia” John Edgar Wideman, winner of Lifetime Achievement Award Essence Cain, poet “In the Flower Market” (front) Good evening. I’m Ronn Richard, president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. It’s my great pleasure to welcome you to the 76th annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards ceremony. I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to see a full house for our opening night here in Playhouse Square.We will always think back upon our years at the Cleveland Play House with nostalgia. But the change in venue didn’t slow demand for almost 1,000 tickets, most of which were snapped up the first week. That’s a testament to the respect this prize commands – and... Read More →

76th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Prize Winners Announced

CLEVELAND, Ohio (April 12, 2011) – The Cleveland Foundation today announced the winners of the 76th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards www.Anisfield-Wolf.org They are: Nicole Krauss, Great House, Fiction Mary Helen Stefaniak, The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia, Fiction David Eltis/David Richardson, Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Nonfiction Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns, Nonfiction John Edgar Wideman, Lifetime Achievement “The 2011 Anisfield-Wolf winners are notable for the unique way each author addresses the... Read More →