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Mary Kay Zuravleff is the author of Man Alive!, a Washington Post Notable Book, as well as The Bowl Is Already Broken and The Frequency of Souls. She is a founder of NoveltyDC, which offers manuscript consultations and private coaching. Among the honors she has received are numerous Artist Fellowships from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, American Academy's Rosenthal Award, and the James Jones First Novel Award. Mary Kay has taught writing at American University, Johns Hopkins University, and George Mason University, and she has written and edited extensively for the Smithsonian Institution. She is a cofounder of the DMV Women Writers, DC-area Ambassador for the Authors Guild, and a Director Emeritus of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Write the book you imagine! MKZ started NoveltyDC to give compassionate feedback and help authors finish novels, memoirs, or story collections! For more information, contact MKZ.

“MKZ is a powerhouse writer, whose novels made me cheer and worry and howl. But she’s also a powerhouse reader and co-inventor. Her notes and questions made my manuscript come alive again—not a completed thing to pick at or mull over but a living creature to keep feeding.”—John Mauk, Field Notes for the Earthbound

Athletes have coaches—so do writers. Stop struggling with a troublesome chapter, a rogue character, or an entire manuscript. Get concrete ideas and a plan for revision. Learn some new techniques to advance plot, increase tension, and reveal character.

"MKZ has a revelatory understanding of the craft and process of fiction writing. Her workshops provide support, feedback, and deadlines so crucial for any writer, and they produce results. I know—I took one." Caroline Preston, The War Bride's Scrapbook

Man Alive!

"This is a family novel for smart people."
Washington Post, Notable Book of 2013

"Impressive intelligence and sly humor."
People Magazine

"Dissects family life with great heart and rapier wit." Parade

"One of the most talked-about releases of 2013."
GWU Today

"Electric. Open its pages or plug in your Kindle." Huffington Post

"Brilliantly bizarre." Bustle

Listen to NPR interview or WritersCast podcast, the PEN/Faulkner Gala podcast, or read more reviews!

The one-paragraph version, no spoilers
All it takes is a quarter to change Owen Lerner’s life. When lightning strikes the coin he’s feeding into the parking meter, the pediatric psychiatrist survives, except that now he only wants to barbecue. The bolt of lightning that lifts Dr. Lerner into the air sends the entire Lerner clan into free fall, and Man Alive! follows along at that speed, capturing family-on-family pain with devastating humor and a rare generosity. This novel explores how much we are each allowed to change within a family—and without.

The one-minute movie, by John Hluchyj

“A lightning bolt to a parking meter certainly packs a punch, but so does every sentence and scene of this exuberant novel. Mary Kay Zuravleff writes so well—with such wit and compassion and wry intelligence—that she can make the daily, domestic life that follows Owen Lerner’s encounter with the transcendent as electrifying as the lightning strike itself. Man Alive! is vividly alive and breathing. A sparkling book.”
—Alice McDermott, author of After This and The Ninth Hour

“Random happens, as Mary Kay Zuravleff ably demonstrates in this witty and engaging novel about a psychiatrist struck by lightning. Man Alive! chronicles the tensions and resentments that pull a family apart in the wake of a freak accident, and the lingering affections and connections that ultimately keep them together.”
—Tom Perrotta, author of The Leftovers and Little Children

The Bowl Is Already Broken challenges what we deem precious and valuable. In the first sentence, a rare Chinese bowl tumbles down the steps of the Museum of Asian Art in Washington, D.C. It is up to Promise Whittaker, the museum's reluctant acting director, to contend with the broken bowl along with her unexpected pregnancy, self-serving colleagues, and the fate of the museum.

"A winsome novel with a serious message—if loss is embedded in our everyday realities, then we must live as though the bowl is already broken."
San Francisco Chronicle

"A tart, affectionate satire of the museum world's bickering and scheming."
New York Times

The Frequency of Souls follows George Mahoney, a refrigerator designer gone stale, whose new office mate, Niagara Spense, sees electricity as a mysterious animating force. In her spare time, Niagara is hoping to locate electrical evidence of life after death.

"Zuravleff's insightful yet gentle rendering of the absurd allows readers to connect fully with her quirky and endearing characters."
New York Times

"A beguiling and wildly inventive first novel. . . . A funny and wholly original love story that weds the everyday to the supernatural and the mystical to the mundane."
Chicago Tribune

The Man Alive! bracelet my sweet daughter made me
A newspaper dress I bought in the subway proves to be perfect for a New Yorker party in "The Talk of the Town."

A beautiful new journal called Origins includes my notion that imagination is a form of intuition in "I Can See Clearly Now."

I explain "How to Make Your Book a Bestseller" in The Atlantic.

Shelf Awareness sends Debra Ginsberg to ask whatever her heart desires. We turn out to be a good match.

Lisa Gornick and I interview each other because her wonderful new novel, Tinderbox, revolves around a psychiatrist, as does Man Alive!

Sometimes people give me presents. No pressure. And by people, I usually mean Yael Gen.

Bonus round, parenting division: here's how I turned my son into a reader.

And here's my discovery that E. L. Konigsburg was my muse.

Hats off to book clubs . . .

Contact MKZ to schedule author appearances.
Get Reader's Guides for Man Alive!, The Bowl Is Already Broken, or The Frequency of Souls.

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Man Alive!

Mary Kay Zuravleff's books on Goodreads