If you ask me, “Who are you?” This is what I will tell you:
My name is Marlene Samuels. I’m an independent research sociologist, an instructor, a writer of short stories, essays, and memoir who is, on occasion, a guest lecturer and conference presenter.

I earned both my Ph.D., and M.A., degrees in research sociology from University of Chicago, and although my academic and professional training was research based and rigorous, discovering just how much I utilize my academic training in writing short stories and memoirs has been unexpected and enlightening. Some days, I consider myself to be “an unaffiliated Ph.D.”

Conducting research for my mother’s memoir, The Seamstress: A Memoir of Survival, then rewriting it was the catalyst for my increasing interests in non-academic genres. In addition, it was an incredibly gratifying and educational project. My introduction to non-academic writing began with my work as the manuscript’s researcher, followed by me co-authoring and editing it. My work culminated with publication of mother’s memoir and having it becoming an important part of the public record.

My additional writing interests have encouraged me to implement well-sequenced learning processes. What a happy realization for me — that I was learning to write in new and different ways. The process, while challenging, also has been 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 living in Montreal’s old French quarter among French-speaking Canadians. Immigrating to the U.S.A., during the height of my adolescence —that most challenging time of life for most people, only 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, OurEcho.com, 101Words.com, and others.

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

Besides writing and teaching, I maintain a regular blog. My favorite topics are: research strategies for writers, problems related to factually incorrect data resulting from over-reliance upon internet-based research, plus my newer interest, observations about our language — the errors and quirks heard and read far too often in every medium imaginable and among all sectors of American society. Currently, I’m completing a memoir comprised of short stories.

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 programs 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