Author Bio and Writings

IMG_3779J. A. Bernstein is the fiction editor of Tikkun magazine and an assistant professor of English at the University of Minnesota Duluth. A Chicago native, he studied Near Eastern History at Brown University and in Jordan on a Fulbright Scholarship. He then lived in the Middle East for five years and completed a doctorate in creative writing and literature at USC, where he held the Middleton Fellowship. His first novel, RACHEL’S TOMB, won the Hackney Prize and Knut House Novel Contest, and his story collection, STICK-LIGHT, is forthcoming from Eyewear Editions (UK), where it was shortlisted for the Beverly Prize. His writings have been awarded honors from Crab Orchard Review, The Atlantic, Iron Horse Literary Review, Redivider, and other journals, along with a Sewanee Writers’ Conference Scholarship. He’s also formerly the world’s #9 ranked cherry-pit spitter after notching a personal best of 52’7” at the International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship in Eau Claire, Michigan in 2012.

Selected Publications

Available Online:


Nonfiction and Poetry:

Coming Soon:

  • “Desert Castles” (essay). Chariton Review.
  • “Black Earth” (essay). Lake Effect.
  • “‘A Paradise of Snakes’: Conrad’s Ecological Ambivalence” (academic article). Conrad and Nature.
  • “Discipline and Punish” (fiction). Chiron Review.
  •  Untitled piece (essay). FORTH Magazine.
  • “An Essay on Human Liberation” (essay). States of the Union.

Available at a Fine Retailer Near You:




STICK-LIGHT (short story collection), forthcoming, Eyewear Editions

  • Shortlist, 2016 Beverly Prize, Eyewear Editions
  • Finalist, 2015 Jones Book Prize, Pleiades Press
  • Finalist, 2015 Prose Book Prize, Augury Books
  • Long-list, 2015 Serena McDonald Kennedy Award for Fiction, Snake Nation Press


  • Winner, 2015 Knut House Novel Contest (awarded publication)
  • Winner, 2016 Hackney Literary Award for the Novel
  • Finalist, 2013 James Jones First Novel Award
  • Semifinalist, 2016 Elixir Press Fiction Award

IN JOSAPHAT’S VALLEY (essay collection)

  • Runner-up, 2016 Nonfiction Book Prize, Red Hen Press
  • Finalist, 2015 Prose Book Prize, Augury Books
  • Runner-up, 2015 Palooka Chapbook Prize (in shortened form)

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