From The American Lives Series
Edited by Tobias Wolff
About Sonja

Sonja Livingston's latest book, The Virgin of Prince Street: Expeditions into Devotion, uses an unexpected return to her childhood church as an occasion to explore the changes in the Church and in her own life. The result is a generous but unflinching look at the shifting Catholic Church and changing concepts of devotion.  

Sonja’s first book,
Ghostbread, won an AWP Book Prize for Nonfiction and has been adopted for classroom use around the nation. Her essay collections, Ladies Night at the Dreamland and Queen of the Fall, combine history, memory and imagination to illuminate the lives of girls and women.  Her writing has been honored with a NYFA Fellowship, an Iowa Review Award, a VanderMey Nonfiction Prize, an Arts & Letters Prize, and grants from Vermont Studio Center and The Deming Fund for Women.

Sonja’s essays appear in outlets such as Salon, LitHub, The Kenyon Review, America, Sojourners and are anthologized in many textbooks on creative writing, including: The Best of Brevity, Contemporary Nonfiction, Short Takes, The Truth of the Matter, The Curious Writer, Poverty/Privilege: A Reader, Brief Encounters, and Waveform: Twenty-First-Century Essays by Women. 


Sonja is an associate professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, and teaches in the Postgraduate Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA). She has taught at the University of Memphis and in The Writing Workshops Abroad for the University of New Orleans in Edinburgh, San Miguel de Allende and Cork. She is married to the artist Jim Mott and splits her time between New York State and Virginia. 

For information on readings or to arrange a visit send an email


The Virgin

of Prince Street


Queen of the Fall

Ladies Night

at the Dreamland

52 Snapshots:

A Memoir Starter Kit


“Livingston’s prose shines.”


Read/Listen to interviews here.


The Making 

of Saints

On Shame & Writing

Nota Bene:
On the Bodies of Poor Boys


Thumb-Sucking Girl


Searching for Mary

A Thousand Mary Doyles