Marie Manilla

2021 One Book, One West Virginia Common Read

         Winner of The Weatherford Award  

            Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Now HarperCollins)

    Available in France from Editions Autrement   

"Manilla has created a complex, endearing character, whose story will absorb readers from beginning to end. Beautifully written, filled with detailed prose meant to be savored." Booklist

"Clever, funny, heartbreaking, and heartwarming, all at once . . . A lovely hopeful tale." Publishers Weekly

"In The Patron Saint of Ugly, Marie Manilla strikes the balance between religious optimism and pessimism needed for a true work of magical realism that doesn't preach or belittle." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"This book is a divinely feminist celebration of the sacred synergy that exists between women." Feminism and Religion

"A cleareyed, touching fable of a girl learning the hard truths about herself and others." Kirkus

"Marie Manilla's novel is a boisterous dazzler, thick with humor and steeped in a rich mythology. The Patron Saint of Ugly packs a hard emotional punch without ever losing its charm or its hopeful heart." 

Joshilyn Jackson, author of Gods in Alabama

"Marie Manilla has written more than a novel; she's written what we used to call a tale. It's all here, folks, the whole world. How does Manilla write about God and history and love and loss and make it all so miraculously readable? How does she make this book so much fun, even as it breaks your heart? Beats me, but she did it." 

Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish

"A vastly entertaining story of a reluctant saint, her indelible nonna, and their family's long history of love, trickery and transcendence. I can't imagine any reader not enjoying Manilla's sparkling tale, or the girl who tells it." 

Whitney Otto, author of How to Make and American Quilt

"The Patron Saint of Ugly is steeped in magicit will make you laugh, fill you with wonder and break your heart all at once. A rich and energetic tale of love, family, and the hazy lines between reality and myth."

Zoë Ferraris, author of Finding Nouf


Marie Manilla is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her novel, The Patron Saint of Ugly, won the Weatherford Award. Shrapnel received the Fred Bonnie Award for Best First Novel. Stories in her collection, Still Life with Plums, first appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Prairie Schooner, Mississippi Review, Calyx, and other journals. Her essays have appeared in Word Riot, Cossack Review, Hippocampus, Under the Sun, Still, and elsewhere.