Millicent G. Dillon

Millicent G. Dillon has won five O. Henry Awards for best short stories and been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner for her fictionalized biography of the American spy, Harry Gold.

Dillon has written three other novels, A Version of Love, The One in the Back is Medea, The Dance of the Mothers, a short story collection, Baby Perpetua and Other Stories and a double-biography of Isadora Duncan and Mary Cassatt, After Egypt.

Dillon is also considered the world’s expert on the novelists Jane and Paul Bowles. She is the author of the biographies, A Little Original Sin: The Life and Work of Jane Bowles and You Are Not I: A Portrait of Paul Bowles and the editor of The Collected Works of Jane Bowles, My Sister’s Hand in Mine, Out in the World: Selected Letters of Jane Bowles and The Portable Paul and Jane Bowles. She has written most recently about Paul in her essay, “The Perils of Biography” in The Southwest Review.

Dillon is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships and a residency at Yaddo artists working community. Her papers are archived at the Harry Ransome Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dillon is represented by Phyllis Westberg at Harold Ober Associates.

I worked with Dillon to best position her memoir, The Absolute Elsewhere, for the changing publishing industry. Her memoir explores her life as a physicist at Oak Ridge Secret Atomic Facility in 1947 and afterward. She describes her meetings with J. Robert Oppenheimer, who casually dismissed her concerns about the potential for catastrophic inhumanity in the use of an atomic bomb, and Albert Einstein, who gave her an hour of his undivided attention.

In luminous prose, Dillon reflects through the eyes of physicist, biographer, and fiction author upon the struggles of the atomic scientists to find peace within themselves over their controversial work—including its political, social, moral, and humane ramifications. An excerpt from her memoir has appeared as “In the Atomic City” in The Believer.

Most recently, Dillon won First Place in the Narrative Magazine Fall 2012 Story Contest with “The Healer in the Motel.”

Dillon says:

“Victoria, I am so grateful for your suggestions. I feel as if I have to turn my head around and look at the world in a new way.”

My interview with Dillon on her biographies of Jane and Paul Bowles appeared in 2010: The Forces Within: the Millicent Dillon Interview.