Teresa Milbrodt grew up in Bowling Green, Ohio, where she developed an odd affinity for Midwestern flatness and gray skies. She received her MFA in Creative Writing and her MA in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University, and was then permitted to move to the Rocky Mountains. She is the author of a short story collection, Bearded Women: Stories.
Milbrodt’s stories have appeared in Nimrod, North American Review, Crazyhorse, Natural Bridge, Indiana Review, The Cream City Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and New Orleans Review, among other literary journals. Several of her stories have also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado, where she lives with her husband Tristan and cat Aspen. She is still adjusting to absurdly sunny January days.
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Teresa Milbrodt, Fictioneer
“[Bearded Women] takes human characteristics which we would normally associate with ‘freak shows’ and weds them to narratives about ‘normal’ human problems. It’s a brilliant conceit—and Milbrodt executes it so well that the reader finds him/herself following each story not with the voyeur’s eye to the main character’s ‘otherness’ but with the sympathy/empathy that we would show to anyone we encountered who was struggling with problems that we’ve either faced and solved ourselves or helped friends or family members face and solve.”
—Scholars & Rogues
“The bizarre aspects of the characters in the stories of Bearded Women serve a particular function, to help us to look closely. Because the narrator in ‘Bianca’s Body’ has a lower torso with sexual organs sticking out of her abdomen, we pay closer attention to the dilemma she faces. Consciously or not, we analyze much more deeply than we would if the narrator had nothing odd about her. In this way, Milbrodt is able to present us universal problems in a way that seems absolutely fresh and new.”
“The stories are grounded in literary realism, then crack the boundaries of the form and launch into magical realist dimensions . . . firmly establishing Milbrodt as a premier writer, and maybe the founder, of Midwestern mythic.”
“Milbrodt grounds the extraordinary inside a framework that forces the reader to look away from the freak-show qualities of a single-eyed girl and instead focus on how one would cope with that situation. The payoff is quiet and poignant, but powerful in unexpectedly ways because the oddity of the protagonist’s appearance does not single her out as much as it makes us all too aware of the frustrations, dashed hopes, and resigned sighs that we all experience in our lives, especially for those of us who feel stuck in dead-end jobs or stagnant relationships.”
“ChiZine Publications delivers a phenomenal collection with Teresa Milbrodt’s Bearded Women. . . . Milbrodt’s writing is akin to that of Carol Emshwiller or Karen Russell (Swamplandia!). The most outré beings and events are presented with matter-of-fact mimetic clarity and emotional empathy.”
“Dehumanized by a world which has used their oddities for entertainment purposes, the women in Teresa Milbrodt’s Bearded Women: Stories challenge our thoughts on genetic variances and humanity and how we view our own selves. With wit and charm, she beautifully weaves short stories about women who are as real as we, who are strong in the presence of adversity, and whose only desire is to live their lives, embracing those aspects which make them so different than those around them. These stories of women cause us to examine our own thoughts and challenge the big top freak spectacular.”
—Living Peacefully With Children
“Freakish in mind or body they may be, but Milbrodt’s characters have the same problems as everyone else. . . . The characters are worth knowing, and the insight they provide into unusual lives is worth pondering.”
“[Bearded Women] was beautifully written but it had this strange, lyrical feel to it. The thing I loved about this novel was that even though each of the short stories contained a ‘freak’ per se, their emotions and feelings of being different were relatable, tangible and so very real.”
—Chasing Empty Pavements