Maile Chapman

Photo of Maile Chapman


B.A., The Evergreen State College, 1988


Maile Chapman Bio at

Biographical Note

Maile Chapman is from Tacoma, Washington. She has lived in Ireland and Germany, and, after completing her MFA in Fiction at Syracuse University, she spent a Fulbright Grant year in Finland, where she visited early twentieth-century institutional buildings designed by Finnish architects. She is currently a Schaeffer Fellow in Fiction and PhD candidate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a fiction editor of the literary journal Witness. She is also the Las Vegas facilitator for Literature and Medicine, a humanities discussion group for hospital staff, organized by the Nevada Humanities Council and supported by the Maine Humanities Council. In 2010-2011 she will be a fellow at the The New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.

Maile Chapman bookPublication Type


Latest Publication Title

Your Presence Is Requested at Suvanto: A Novel, Graywolf Press, 2010

Additional Publications

"A Love Transaction," Post Road, Fall 2000
"A Love Transaction," in Best New American Voices, Harcourt, 2000
"The Blue Heart," Argestes, Fall 2000
"Dora," Stand Magazine, Spring 2000
"The Black Circle" and "The Smell of Dogs," Third Bed, Winter 1999
"Paternal Grandmother" and "Daycare," Synapse, January 1998
"Le Havre," Minimus, Fall 1996

Publication Excerpt

From "The Black Circle":

Lit window. One body asleep with darkened eyelids. I circle to get out, momentarily eclipsing the other.

The slate floor, the woodwork, the curtains, all solid as a grid. In the sunroom I see shapes leaning in against the windows, pressing the glass, shrubs trapped in crumbling pots and dead from neglect among other, indeterminate things growing around the house while I was upstairs sleeping.

The yard, the expectation. The sky is low and hot and there are insects throbbing bloodlessly at the perimeter. The grass is hard and yellow and it breaks a little every time I take a step out away from the house.

When I stop there is a buzzing, a lifting. The empty sky presses down. The house is large in its bulls-eye of yellow grass, in the amphitheater of the black surrounding trees. I would be climbing my own panic if it rose at all, but everything is constant, everything is just the same. Upstairs I am still sleeping with the weight of this blue day audible against my eyelids.

There is movement and I turn. Something is in the trees, greener than they are. The trees are black, blighted. And what is moving in them is blacker than that too.

It moves, slipping down on one knee. More than one, they move down. Whispers in the leaves. The plowing under, in the distance, of manure.

Those I catch going down hold there, mouths open onto layers of flaking remains, dead grass. Sticks glued with desiccated leaves. The shrubs at the windows have the arrested movement of wooden heads, the attention of bones whose life is leached away but not released from the area.

I would be sweating but there is only a squeezing inside the sleeve of my body, the need to get back now. A pendulum above is coming down soon at this target of silence and I am hung by the obvious imperative to enter the house and retrace my movements – my feet on the stairs, my hands on them too – because paralytic fear is in the yard and the black circle and the insects. And if I get inside there is fear of movement, any movement, but especially any movement towards the room, towards the bed, towards the sight of my own back, the sight of myself facing away.