Micheline Aharonian Marcom

Faculty on Leave of Absence, MFA in Creative Writing Program
Residency Site: Port Townsend WA



Micheline Aharonian Marcom is the author of Three Apples Fell from Heaven, which was a New York Times Notable Book. The Daydreaming Boy won the 2005 PEN/USA Award in fiction and was named a best book by the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. The third book in the trilogy, Draining the Sea, was published in March 2008.  Marcom’s next two novels were published by Dalkey Archive Press, The Mirror in the Well (2008) and A Brief History of Yes (2013).  Marcom received a Lannan Literary Fellowship in 2004, a Whiting Writers’ Award in 2006, and a United States Artists Fellowship in 2012.

Website: MichelineMarcom.com


MFA in Creative Writing, Mills College
BA in Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley

Areas of Expertise

  • Fiction
  • Creative Nonfiction

Personal Statement

There are few things more important to me than writing and literature. I think that the classroom is one of the remaining vibrant spaces, an exciting and often electric place, wherein participants can explore and discuss creative writing, and have experiences that open up their work in unexpected ways. I require students to read a lot, knowing that for writers to improve and achieve mastery, they must read and learn from masterful writers. I believe that the books are our teachers, but also that the writing teacher is a guide, through texts and also through student works-in-progress. When I work with students, I often draw from and reflect upon my own experiences as a writer. Writing is obviously a solitary act, but I believe that those of us who us who spend our lives using words to make art and story benefit greatly from collaboration and exchange.

I have a trilogy of novels, which I worked on for eight years. My first novel, Three Apples Fell From Heaven, was published in 2001 (Riverhead Books). It follows the lives of a handful of characters in the towns of Kharphert and Mezre in eastern Turkey during the First World War when the massacres and deportations of Armenians were carried out. This book was inspired, initially, by the stories of my maternal grandparents who both survived the Armenian Genocide and who later fled to Beirut, Lebanon where they lived in exile. Three Apples Fell From Heaven was a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times and Washington Post Book of the Year in 2001. It was also Runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway Award. The second book in the trilogy, The Daydreaming Boy, was published in 2004 (Riverhead Books). It follows the life of an Armenian war orphan and refugee in Beirut, Lebanon, who in his mid-life begins to remember his childhood in the orphanage, and to contemplate his existence in diaspora. The book was named the PEN/USA Fiction winner for 2005. The third book, Draining the Sea (Riverhead Books, 2008), is about a half-Armenian man in Los Angeles and his obsession with a Guatemalan woman who is Ixil-Maya and who herself suffers through the massacres during the Guatemalan civil conflict and scorched earth campaign of the 1980s. After I finished the trilogy, I turned to writing three books which took as their subject not large historical events, but more “domestic” topics:  female sexuality, love—both requited and unrequited—loss, dreams, and reveries.  I am currently finishing a novel called The New American about an undocumented Guatemalan-American college student who is deported from California and makes his way back home. I am also working on an oral history project interviewing Central American children who have fled to the US seeking asylum.

In addition to Goddard, I teach at Mills College in Oakland in the Creative Writing program.


  1. A Brief History of YesDalkey Archive Press2013
  2. Draining the Sea Riverhead Trade2009
  3. The Mirror in the WellDalkey Archive Press2008
  4. The Daydreaming BoyRiverhead Books2004
  5. Three Apples Fell from HeavenRiverhead Books2001