Ask me, “Who are you?” This is what I can tell you:

My name is Marlene Samuels. I’m an independent research sociologist, an instructor, writer of short stories, essays, and memoir who also, on occasion, is a guest speaker and conference presenter.

I earned both my Ph.D., and M.A., degrees in research sociology from University of Chicago. And while my academic and professional training was rigorous and research based, being able to incorporate my training into short stories and memoir writing has been both unexpected and enlightening. Some days, I regard myself as “an unaffiliated Ph.D.”

My mother’s memoir was the catalyst for my expanded interests in non-academic genres but also proved to be the most personally gratifying and educational project I undertook.

My introduction to non-academic genres began with my work as the manuscript’s researcher, co-author, and editor. In order to fulfill my goal of seeing my mother’s memoir published and become an important part of the public record, I realized my serious need: to master critical elements of writing in a genre so dramatically different from sociology.
After months of systematic study and writing, The Seamstress: A Memoir of Survival was published, and continues to receive high marks.

My additional writing interests — like statistics and research, also lends itself to a well sequenced learning process. What an incredibly happy realization for me! Learning to write in new and different ways has been challenging, enticing, and wonderfully gratifying.

Much of my non-academic written work stems from my experiences of having grown up with Holocaust survivor parents in a non-English speaking home . Our family dynamics were complicated further by our living in Montreal’s old French quarter among French-speaking Canadians.

Immigrating to the U.S.A., during the height of my adolescence —a most challenging time in life for most people, certainly added complex and rich writing material to my over-flowing coffer.

My essays and short stories have been published in print journals and in “on-line” publications. Some of these include Lilith Magazine, A Long Story Short, Chicago Tribune, A Room of Her Own Foundation, University of Iowa Summer Writing Anthology, Story Circle Anthology, One Woman’s Day, Wood River Jewish Community Quarterly,,, and others.

Additional projects I’ve been involved with include a book in my academic field about professional school graduates and their long-term success (University of Michigan Press), and a more recent book: When Digital Isn’t Real: Fact Finding Offline for Serious Writers, (Create Space 2013). In 2017, I was privileged to serve as primary researcher for filmmaker Shuli Eshel’s documentary film entitled, A Voice Among the Silent: the Legacy of James G McDonald.

In addition to my writing and teaching, I maintain a regular blog. My favorite topics to consider are: research strategies for writers, problems associated with factually incorrect data resulting from over-reliance upon internet-based research to the exclusion of other research sources, plus my other interest: observations about language errors and quirks heard and read all to often in every medium imaginable and among every sector of American society.

Currently, I serve on University of Chicago’s Advisory Council to the Graduate Division of the Social Sciences, and am a member of University of Chicago Women’s Board. In addition, I participate regularly in courses with University of Chicago’s Graham School Center for Continuing Studies, specifically the joint program between University of Chicago and University of Oxford, in Oxford, England.

I divide my time between Chicago, Illinois and Sun Valley, Idaho with my two gigantic Rhodesian Ridgebacks, George and Ted.

Organizations & Memberships

  • Story Circle Network
  • WOW – Women On Writing
  • Idaho Writers Guild
  • AROHO Foundation
  • American Sociological Society
  • Advisory Council Member, University of Chicago Graduate School
  • Association of Writers & Writing Programs
  • National Association of Memoir Writers
  • International Women Writers’ Guild
  • Midwest Sociological Association
  • Writing It Real
  • University of Chicago Women’s Board
  • Newberry Library Book Group