Biography of Erin Morgenstern

Erin Morgenstern is best known as the author of The Night Circus (2011).

Morgenstern grew up in Massachusetts and attended Smith College, where she studied theater and studio art. Of writing, she said, “I wrote little random things when I was in junior high and high school but never really thought of myself as a writer. I studied playwriting in college but never finished any plays. Wrote a few pretty good scenes, though. After college I thought about writing for good long while before I started actually putting pen to paper in my mid-twenties.” Before becoming a full-time writer, she said “I sat in fluorescent-lit cubicles and made photocopies. Really. I had a string of office jobs and none of them were particularly inspiring. I had a degree in Theatre and didn’t really want to do theatre anymore so I spent most of my 20s filing things and arguing with fax machines and wondering who took my stapler while trying to figure out what to do with my life. I quit a couple of years ago to focus on writing and painting to see if either would take off and now here we are.”

The Night Circus came to fruition during National Novel Writing Month. It was critically acclaimed and became a bestseller. Morgenstern also loves painting and tarot, and she explained in an NPR interview about painting a deck of tarot: “I started reading tarot cards maybe about a decade ago. I'm not very good at it but I do love the symbolism and iconography and just the artwork of tarot decks. And so when I was looking for new visual art projects it seems like a good project so I wouldn't have to keep thinking of what to paint next. So I'd have 78 paintings that I'd know what I had to paint next.”

Morgenstern currently lives with her husband Adam and their cat in the Berkshires. Her newest novel, The Starless Sea, will be published in late 2019.


Study Guides on Works by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus is a novel by writer and multimedia artist Erin Morgenstern. Published in 2011, it was the author's debut novel. She has acknowledged debts to Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and Christopher Priest’s The Prestige...