Amanda Stern

My goal was to write an autobiography of an emotion; to reveal my experience of being human in this life. My hope is that [readers] will identify with my so-called failures, relate to my dread and fear that something was wrong with me, and in that recognition they’ll feel seen.

Barnes & Noble Discover new writers selection

New York Foundation for the Arts Fiction Fellow


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In this canny, insightful, novelistic memoir, Amanda Stern traces the indelible path her underlying anxiety has traced in a rich but often frustrated life. It’s a book about her emergence into and acceptance of mature identity, but it is also about the danger of love, the maze of social pressure, and the tension between childhood expectations and adult realities. Narrating with real poignance how every experience she’s had has been filtered through her psychic vulnerability, she achieves a symphony of complex fragilities and redeeming strengths.
— Andrew Solomon
Stern’s frank, funny memoir about living with anxiety...will have chronic worrywarts laugh-crying with recognition
O, The Oprah Magazine
Honest and deeply felt, Stern’s story delivers a raw window into the terrifying world of panic disorders
Publisher's Weekly Starred Review

Amanda Stern is the author of the memoir, Little Panic: Dispatches from an Anxious Life (Grand Central Publishing, 2018), which Publisher’s Weekly called, “honest and deeply felt” in a starred review. It was also a Barnes & Noble Discover New Voices Pick for Summer 2018. Her other books include the novel The Long Haul (Soft Skull Press, 2003), which Maggie Estep praised as “spare and gorgeous,” and the nine book Frankly Frannie middle grade series. Her work has appeared in the New York Times; The Believer,, Blackbook, St. Ann’s Review, and Post Road. among others. Her personal essays have been included in several anthologies: Love is a Four Letter Word, The Marijuana Chronicles, and Women in Clothes, and her Believer interview with Laurie Anderson was included in Confidence, or the Appearance of Confidence: The Best of the Believer Music. She’s held several fellowships at both The MacDowell Colony (once as the Philip Morris Company Fellow) and at Yaddo. In 2012 she was a New York Foundation for the Arts fiction fellow.

Amanda was recently appointed to the Advisory Council of Bring Change to Mind, an organization devoted to encouraging dialogue about mental health, and to raising awareness, understanding, and empathy, founded by actress and activist Glenn Close and her sister, Jessie Close.

When asked about what compelled her to revisit the devastating anxiety of her youth in Little Panic, Stern commented, “I spent my entire life convinced that there was a right way to be human, and that I was doing it wrong. Because my panic disorder went ignored until I was 25, I spent much of my youth hiding every terrifying fear I had, assuming that my suffering was shameful. As an adult it took me decades to finally understand that my limitations and differences don’t mean I’ve failed at life.”

Stern hosts, talks, moderates and curates for a variety of programs, including the National Book Awards “5 Under 35;” the BBC; Soundcheck; the MacDowell Colony; and the Brooklyn Public Library’s Gala with Paul Auster. She’s led storytelling workshops for Moleskine, Cirque du Soleil and Proctor & Gamble.

She created the wildly successful Happy Ending Music and Reading Series, which was a staple of Downtown NYC culture for over a decade, and which famously asked leading writers and musicians to not just give a reading or sing, but to take a public risk. The series was a critical success, and its inventive model paved the way for the proliferation of music and reading series created in its wake.

A fourth generation Manhattan native, Stern currently lives and writes in Brooklyn, NY.



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