Mylène Dressler

Mylène Dressler

Fiction | Greensboro

The North Carolina Arts Council supports diverse and innovative artists with fellowships, professional development and more to enhance the state’s brand and drive economic impact.


“I started writing to tell the stories that haunted me, unspoken histories from my family and my cultures,” says Mylène Dressler. “I am Eurasian, Dutch-Indonesian, descended from both colonizers and the colonized, and it seemed to me that novels were a way to bring into the light what has been overlooked or even actively looked away from, in myself and in the larger world.” She is a recipient of a 2019–20 N.C. Arts Council Fellowship in prose.

Recently, the metaphor of “haunting” has moved to the foreground in Dressler’s work. “In my newest books I’ve been moved to reinvent the ghost story genre,” she says, “taking the hallmarks of gothic literature—dark, labyrinthine spaces, unsettling apparitions, buried knowledge—and reimagining them to tell contemporary stories about otherness and the erasure of identity and experience, especially among characters rendered invisible for reasons of class, gender, race or ethnicity.”

Dressler’s books include I See You So Close (Skyhorse, forthcoming 2020), The Last to See Me (Skyhorse, 2017), winner of the Book Pipeline Grand Prize and Audiofile Award for Fiction, and The Floodmakers (Penguin Putnam, 2004). She teaches at Guilford College in Greensboro as an associate professor in the department of English and Creative Writing.

“My drive is to write stories that move the heart, excite the senses, and ask the reader to tremble with feeling, with the very action of turning the page,” Dressler says. “Art, in my experience, helps you to feel as a way to help you to think—especially when anyone or anything is encouraging you not to feel, not to look in front of you and see what is begging to be seen.”