Lara Ehrlich

Lara Ehrlich’s writing appears in StoryQuarterly, F(r)iction, Hunger Mountain, the Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere, and she has received scholarship support from the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing, the Midwest Writers Workshop, and the Garret on the Green. Lara has attended the Bread Loaf and Tin House writers’ conferences, and she is the recipient of an IHAF In-House Creativity Award and numerous Council for Advancement and Support of Education awards for her feature writing. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Boston University, and she lives in Connecticut with her husband and daughter. Visit her website at

All Books

Animal Wife

Lara Ehrlich

Publication Date: September 8, 2020

$14.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 978-1-59709-884-7


Animal Wife is composed of fifteen stories unified by girls and women seeking liberation from family responsibilities, from societal expectations, from their own minds. They address the complexities of transitioning from innocence to experience and take on the anxiety of motherhood. The majority of the stories are set in an off-kilter version of our world, where the fantastical can exist side by side with—and reveal the absurdities of—the mundane. They often include monsters, mothers, and monstrous mothers.


“From the first sentence Animal Wife grabbed me and never let go. Sensual and intelligent, with gorgeous prose, it made me dizzy with its exploration and illumination of the inner and outer lives of girls and women.”—Ann HoodNew York Times bestselling author

“In this sparkling debut collection, Ehrlich draws on the dark undersides of fairytales to portray the growth, strangeness, and ferocity of childhood with haunting beauty. Each story takes us deeper into the rabbit hole: with mythical monsters and Ovidian transformations, girls discover their own strength and darkness. As the women in these stories cast about for freedom, they become dangerous beings themselves; Ehrlich reminds us how thin the line is between violence and desire. She is a master observer of the magic and mystery that lurk at the edge of our lives. This collection is the arrival of a startling and undeniable new talent in the world of genre-breaking fiction.”—Blair Hurley, author of The Devoted

“The stories in Lara Ehrlich’s Animal Wife are gorgeous and heartbreaking. They glide into each other, refract, and expand outward again, echoing seasons and change and longing. They cause astonishment and wonder. They ask: what does it mean to be in a body? What do we ever know about girlhood? It is a complex and rewarding read.”—Kristen Arnett, author of Felt in the Jaw and Mostly Dead Things

” Lara Ehrlich is a master stylist of the surreal, the fabulist, and the fantastic. I loved each of these whimsical, magical stories that centered around girls and women and their transformations (whether that be into women, mothers, or animals). I was particularly intrigued by the way Lara beautifully portrays the inner struggle between wildness and domesticity, the surreal elements of each story lending a mythical complexity to these conflicts. Really lovely and thought-provoking. Perfect for fans of Aimee Bender, Karen Russell, and Angela Carter. Also, if you’re a language-lover and (like me) find yourself highlighting gorgeous prose, this collection is full of lines like this: “In none of her lives will she be be brilliant or famous or content. Her mediocrity will hound her through a kaleidoscope of futures.” I deeply enjoyed every story (and sentence) and find myself still thinking about them and the ideas they raise days after. “—Joy Baglio, founder of Pioneer Valley Writer’s Workshop


ANIMAL WIFE author Lara Ehrlich interviewed in Poets & Writers!

Lara Ehrlich, author of the short story collection Animal Wife (Red Hen Press, 2020), has a deep narrative investment in the ways the world denies women power and agency. In October 2020 that commitment took a new shape with the first episode of her podcast, Writer Mother Monster, a much-needed balm for those of us balancing mothering and […]

Animal Wife featured & referenced in Electric Literature’s recent article.

In a column for The Cut titled “How Am I?” Amil Niazi paints a grim picture of pandemic working motherhood. In the middle of her realistic itinerary piece about care of two young children while balancing deadlines, she writes that a gaping hole opens up in her kitchen floor which is a portal to hell. “Exactly,” one commenter succinctly replies. […]

Craft Literary’s interview with ANIMAL WIFE author Lara Ehrlich!

The woman on the cover of Lara Ehrlich’s debut short story collection appears to be almost airlifted from the 1950s—she could be an actor from The Donna Reed Show or perhaps a model for LOOK magazine, all aproned and ironed and fingernail perfect. Though unlike the manicured artifice of the “perfect housewife,” this woman’s body has a wildness, a […]

ANIMAL WIFE wins BEST book cover of the year at Electric Literature!

Thank you all for voting! Congratulations to Lara Ehrlich (author), Caitlin Sacks (designer of ANIMAL WIFE) and everyone else at Red Hen. Here is a brief snippet of the article from Electric Literature. Read the rest below! What was the most important thing for you to convey about the book? How did you use the […]

ANIMAL WIFE on a holiday reading list from the Kenyon Review!

ANIMAL WIFE by Lara Ehrlich, a collection of fairy tales that turn up the volume on the quiet desperation in the lives of women and girls until the characters scream, rage, screw, and otherwise manifest their discontents, and that crackle and pop with such imagination and innovation that I was left roiling with jealousy and love;

Lara Ehrlich’s Alumni Profile (Q&A) w/ The University of Chicago!

What kind of work have you done since MAPH? I see you work as marketing director for an arts festival, do you feel that your time at MAPH prepared you for this career? After graduating from MAPH, I worked in telemarketing at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, front of house at Goodman Theatre, and subscription sales […]

Vote for ANIMAL WIFE to Win Electric Lit’s ‘Best Book Cover of 2020’!

Vote for your favorites on Electric Literature’s Twitter and Instagram stories every day this week: round 1 (a whopping 16 matchups) today, round 2 Tuesday, quarterfinals Wednesday, semifinals Thursday, and the final face-off on Friday. You can familiarize yourself with the competitors and their first-round opponents below. If you want to make your own predictions, click the bracket above […]

SmokeLong Quarterly hosted an interview with Lara Ehrlich!

Yes! I often Frankenstein stories, in part due to my inefficient drafting method. I tend to write and write and write and follow tangents without worrying too much about characters or plot. When I’ve written all I can, I organize what I have and see what emerges. That’s how I end up with big chunks […]

F(r)iction Lit interviews Lara Ehrlich about ANIMAL WIFE!

While writing this and the next few stories in the collection, I was interested in exploring the threshold between childhood and adulthood and how fraught this period is with anxiety, fear, shame, and desire—feelings children don’t yet understand when anticipating their adulthood. Throughout the years, my focus shifted to the concerns of adulthood, wifehood, and […]

Lara Ehrlich featured on Poets & Writers

“Plot does not come naturally to me. Instead of staring at a blank page hoping for inspiration, I take a long walk and dictate to myself using my phone’s recording app. I pose a single question like: In this scene, how does character A anger character B?” Read more here.

ANIMAL WIFE featured in Fresh Ink Book Editing newsletter, read here!

From the Fresh Ink Book Editing newsletter, Maya Rock interviews Lara Ehrlich author of ANIMAL WIFE. Read the full interview below! And be sure to visit Fresh Ink Book Editing’s website! FIVE QUESTIONS FOR LARA EHRLICH, AUTHOR OF ANIMAL WIFE Lara Ehrlich is the author of the award-winning, just-released debut story collection Animal Wife . Below is […]

ANIMAL WIFE shoutout from Bartleby’s Books in their most recent newsletter.

Red Hen Press would like to extend their most gracious thanks to Bartleby’s Books from Wilmington, Vermont. In their most recent newsletter Bartleby’s Books speaks of Lara Ehrlich’s debut short story collection ANIMAL WIFE with great respect and intrigue. To support Bartleby’s Books click the link below.

Animal Wife a contender in Parade’s BEST book covers this fall!

Animal Wife by Lara Ehrlich: Animal Wife is a collection of fifteen stories about girls and women who are seeking liberation. From family, from society, and from themselves. You’ll read about a girl born with feathers who searches for her mother, a woman who becomes psychologically trapped…

Conversation with Lara Ehrlich – Midwest Writers Workshop

Watch MWW YouTube “Conversation with an Author” Midwest Writers Workshop presents another installment of our “Conversation with an Author” series. MWW board member Lylanne Musselman’s talked with MWW alum Lara Ehrlich about her newly released book, her writing life and her MWW experience. To continue reading, click here.

What Becoming a Mermaid Taught Me About Being a Modern Woman by Lara Ehrlich

I wait in an underground theater, surrounded by little girls in Ariel T-shirts and their sunburnt dads. At the front of the room, children press against a row of backlit curtains. The doors close and the curtains draw up, revealing windows streaked with algae, beyond which six mermaids blow kisses in a turquoise spring. A […]

Mystic author Lara Ehrlich debuts her ‘Animal Wife’ story collection

In method acting, the thespian tries to fully inhabit the character she or he is portraying — and in extreme cases, the person’s original personality completely vanishes as the role consumes reality for the duration of the job. Writers, of course, have a different gig. And while some have been known to go to great lengths […]

12 Books You Should Read in September

Recommended Reading from Lit Hub Staff and Contributors Lara Ehrlich, Animal Wife(Red Hen Press) “My mother said girls have to take care of themselves. That’s how we avoid turning into sea foam and falling down wells. That’s how we escape hunters and kings who chop and carve and snip and steal.” These sentences, coming in the […]

10 Short Stories About Women’s Transformations

Lara Ehrlich recommends fiction by women about mythological and psychological metamorphoses. The Little Mermaid sacrifices her tail for a human soul. The Navajo Changing Woman grows old and is reborn with the seasons. The nymph Daphne becomes a tree to escape lovesick Apollo. Women transform because we are hungry. We transform because we’re restless, and […]

Book lunch to include music, cocktails and doughnuts

Author Lara Ehrlich knows how to add a little razzle-dazzle to a virtual event. Ehrlich, whose award-winning short story collection, “Animal Wife,” will make its debut — virtually — next Tuesday, with all sorts of fun fanfare, is also the director of marketing for the New Haven-based International Festival of Arts & Ideas. Read the full article […]

An Expert Explained To Me How Young Kids Process Death – Here’s What I Learned

For once, my daughter Cora* is careful while descending the stairs and does not leap from the second step. She comes to me wide-eyed, cradling something in her fist. “It’s a ladybug,” she whispers, unfolding her dirty fingers. “He’s dead.” At three and a half, Cora loves bugs, witches, the Rat King from The Nutcracker, and the friends she […]

Without Books Episode 15: Lara Ehrlich

Lara Ehrlich is the author of the short story collection Animal Wife (Red Hen Press, Sept 2020), which won Red Hen’s Fiction Award, judged by Ann Hood. Lara lives in Connecticut with her husband and daughter. Listen to the podcast on the Without Books site here!

The Story Prize: Featured Instagram Post by Lara Ehrlich

This post, by Lara Ehrlich, author of Animal wife, is the 32nd in a series of posts by writers whose books have been entered for The Story Prize in 2020.“This photo by @chalk_dreams invokes that period of childhood, teetering on the cusp of puberty, when kids cling to their belief in magic as reality encroaches on their […]

Lara Ehrlich Finds Inspiration in Fairy Tales in Her Debut Collection, Animal Wife

Lara Ehrlich had a busy spring as director of marketing for June’s International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven, Conn. The 250-event schedule had to be completely reimagined as a scaled-down, virtual festival due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Now Ehrlich (UNI’03), previously a senior editor-writer for BU Marketing & Communications and an associate editor for Bostonia, has […]


ANIMAL WIFE gets a 5 star review from the Lisa Albright of the GirlyBookClub!

5 stars I wasn’t sure what to expect with this collection of short stories and I don’t read them often so I was pleasantly surprised to find that once I got started I couldn’t put this book down. Some of the stories are heartbreakingly beautiful and others mildly disconcerting but the graceful writing is always […]

F(r)iction Lit gives ANIMAL WIFE a glowing review!

What captivated me most of all was how Lara Ehrlich writes her characters. The stories feature women at different stages of life or different situations, and yet they feel familiar. This may be due to these women always being connected by their relationships with other characters. They are friends, mothers, daughters—sometimes all three at once—yet […]

Lara Ehrlich’s ANIMAL WIFE reviewed by Metapsychology Online Reviews.

“There is this kind of appeal for readers in the highly recommended Animal Wife, Red Hen Press’s Fiction Award winner, with its  fresh take on the mythopoeic in relation to women’s lives. It is engaging at every turn of the page for its innovative approach. Ehrlich weaves compelling characters and situations, gripping images and language […]

[REVIEW] Animal Wife by Lara Ehrlich

The cover of Lara Ehrlich’s debut short story collection, Animal Wife, might make you scream. On it, a quintessential 1950’s housewife, dressed in a frilly apron and with a bow in her meticulously curled hair, offers a look of shock on one side of her face, while the other half has transformed into a snarling wolf. […]

Kirkus Reviews: Animal Wife

Girls and women caught between myth and the modern world. Selected by Ann Hood as the winner of the Red Hen Fiction Award, Ehrlich’s debut collection contains 15 stories, some as short as a paragraph. Protagonists range from girls dealing with absent mothers, first kisses, and female friendships to grown women, mothers and would-be mothers […]