Liesl D Wilke

Liesl Wilke is a New Jersey- born and southern-raised author of novels, short stories, screenplays and stage plays. She has a Sociology degree from Princeton University and a law degree from the University of North Carolina. She has written several novels, the most recent of which, Circle of Three, won the 2015 Writer’s Digest Self-Published Novel Award. She has also won awards for her novel Unfurling Lily, her short stories “Ordinary Commerce,” “Of Crab Traps and Fisherwomen,” and “Stalled Symphony,” which won the 2011, Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and is the inspiration for both a television series and a play set in and around a Seattle mall bathroom. Her stories have also appeared in the G.W. Review, Short Story, and Narrative Magazine. Ms. Wilke has also written (as L.D. Thornton) a mystery novel called Jordan Falls. She is actively at work on several other television scripts including one based on her time as an Amazon wife learning to love Seattle and most recently, NORMAL, an exploration of how one woman’s coming of age in North Carolina has circumscribed her ability to be a fully realized, authentic adult. NORMAL is heavily based on Ms. Wilke’s experiences in Charlotte in the 80s, from the way busing did (and failed to) change the social landscape, to the challenges of living with parents experimenting with open marriage (and a little too much weed). A short story entitled “Hidden Dangers of Camping” appears in Narrative Magazine and depicts one of the scenes in the pilot for NORMAL. Ms. Wilke is also actively workshopping her script for the stage version of STALLED, now a musical with music and lyrics by Andy Marsh, and additional lyrics by Ms. Wilke. STALLED: A Modern Feminist Musical About Mothers, Daughters and Moving On, debuted as a staged workshop for six weeks in 2022 in Venice, CA at the Pacific Resident Theater under the direction of Cal Brady (and Marilyn Fox as PRT Artistic Director). Jeremy Mann was music director and a cast of absolutely amazing women stunned audiences with their honesty and grace.

Ms. Wilke is a mother of two daughters and lives in Seattle and Southern California. She is an accomplished oil painter, a very messy cook, and a passionate philanthropist advocating for Indian higher education, the arts (with a special focus on theater and how it can grow in the digital age), and scientific progress (with a focus on computational biology). She is a Lyme Disease survivor, having spent a number of years on multiple antibiotics and as a result takes vitamins and sunshine seriously and tries to lighten up on most everything else. More than anything, she loves, and needs, to create things – art, worlds, characters. Writing is a compulsion fed by the surprising joy found in connecting to other human beings – of knowing that a character or a world woven from daydreams and all the breaks and mended bits of her own life has deeply resonated with another person.

Liesl Wilke’s stories are the sophisticated work of a sinuous mind and deep heart. Her characters span a darkling mid-American range from the police beat to the Ivy League. Driven equally by the worst and the best in themselves, her characters’ desires lead them toward raw confrontations in which the riddle becomes how to support grace when it unexpectedly arrives.

Tom Jenks, Narrative Magazine