Elissa Malcohn publicity photoPhoto credit:
Claudia Isselhardt

Elissa Malcohn: Biography

Note: This is my informal, formative romp. Click here for a more standard version.

Born in 1958 in Brooklyn, New York, Elissa grew up a short walk from the F-train el. She could often be seen commandeering a picnic bench in Friend's Field for purposes of doing her school work, listening to her transistor radio, and writing stories that she later typed up on a Smith-Corona manual typewriter. Her love of teaching, language, and music came from her maternal grandmother, who taught elementary school; her mother, who taught high school English; and her father, who taught piano, organ, and accordion.

When the television show Star Trek went off the air in 1969, Elissa missed it so much that she began writing her own Trek episodes. She engaged in shared fantasies and creative endeavors with close friends, and soon expanded into more general science fiction whenever she could. (An eighth grade essay assignment on what the world would be like five years hence yielded a story set in Earth orbit.) In 1972 she took out her first magazine subscription, to Galaxy. She received her first rejection slip from them shortly thereafter, and was thrilled.
Galaxy Rejection Slip One of Elissa's first rejection slips, dating from the early 1970s. "Some parts do show a mature style," wrote the assistant editor/"slushpile reader."
To her child's mind, which didn't know any better, this meant she was now a card-carrying writer. She had made First Contact with an editor, even if a slushpile reader. Therein began her collection of rejection slips, in all shapes and sizes and from multiple genres, which she treasures to this day. Amazing/Fantastic rejection slip"If you're really only 16...," Moshe Feder wrote.

She was.

Through Moshe, Elissa got involved in a New York fandom group called Fistfa, where she added her story drafts to the prozines, fanzines, etc., circulating within the group.
Living a short walk from the New York City subway placed Elissa a token away from Manhattan publishers. She wrote her first novel at age 15 and promptly tried to market it. Memorandum from Donald A. WollheimWhen she received a positive response to her query for her first novel, Ambrosine, she delivered the manuscript in person and got to meet and talk with Donald Wollheim. She was 17 years old at the time of this memo, and hadn't a clue about what kind of attention she was getting. She was (and is) just sharing visions...
As thrilling as the rejections were, her first acceptance was even nicer! Karmic RunesKarmic Runes hailed from Alaska and published Elissa's story "Black Magic," inspired by the Rene Magritte painting of the same name. As the return letter says, the editors created the Dale C. Donaldson Memorial Award specifically for the story.
Awards and other writing-related experience can be found here.

Elissa Malcohn lives in central Florida with her partner Mary C. Russell, their cat Daisy, and the benevolent spirit of Daisy's buddy Red (1992-2008).
Red in Dorchester, MA

A cover sampler (partial collection; click here for the bibliography):


Publications Composite

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