Creative Writing at The New School

Fairyland by Alysia Abbott (via Abbott, a 2003 MFA alum, has published a striking memoir  about growing up in the "post-hippie" Haight of San Francisco. Fairyland, navigates the complexities of her relationship with her widowed father, the poet Steve Abbott, and a landscape that brought them together and kept them apart.  Written two decades after her father's tragic death, Fairyland is a gripping and honest incantation of Abbott's childhood and the emotional climate of San Francisco in the 70's.

Fairyland is available to order or at your local book store. You can read more reviews of the memoir at The San Francisco Chronicle and The New York Times.


"A vivid, sensitively written account of a complex but always loving relationship. This is not only a painfully honest autobiography but also a tribute to old-fashioned bohemian values in a world that is increasingly conformist and materialistic. I couldn't put it down!" — Edmund White

"Colored with quirky, picturesque details of Bay Area counter culture, in-cluding its famous cafes, personalities, and periodicals, Abbott's narrative balances idiosyncratic flourishes with universal emotions of anger, resentment, jealousy, and guilt. Decades after the fact, it is clear she continues to struggle with her failures as daughter and caregiver. Yet, her fragile resolution is more honest than a tidy, suggesting that the most "outlandish" parts of our stories—our own inade-quacies—prove difficult to fully accept." — Publisher's Weekly

"In Alysia Abbott’s gorgeous account of her 1980s San Francisco childhood, a whimsical gay poet becomes an intelligent father, his motherless daughter a forceful and articulate young woman, and a rich, dizzy fairyland is shuttered by a plague. As a chronicle of the moment when the San Francisco of Armistad Maupin became the city of Harvey Milk, when gay and experimental poetry flourished in California, Fairyland is vivid and indelible. As the portrait of a conspiracy of love between a father and a daughter, it is heartrending, a brilliant addition to the literature of American memoir." — Honor Moore


Alysia Abbott grew up in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, the only child of gay poet and writer, Steve Abbott. After graduating from New York University, she worked at the New York Public Library before receiving her MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from New School University. For the last ten years she's worked as a producer at WNYC and written articles and essays for Real SimpleSalonTheAtlantic.comTime Out NY, andBabble, among other publications. In 2009 she attended Harvard University as a Nieman Affiliate. While there, Alysia began work on Fairyland, A Memoir of My Father. Her first full-length book, Fairyland was completed with the help of a Ragdale Fellowship and the wonderful staff at W.W. Norton. You can follow her on Twitter @AlysiaAbbott.

About The Author

Founded in Greenwich Village in 1931, Creative Writing at The New School continues to promote, engender, and shape innovative literature.