Born in Winnetka, Illinois, Deborah Eisenberg wrote her first short story at the encouragement of actor and playwright Wallace Shawn, her longtime partner, while attempting to quit smoking. “Once the narcotic and prop were no longer available, the human being simply died,” she later told The Paris Review. “I was left in a kind of mourning. I was grief-stricken. I had murdered someone, and it was me. But as it turned out, that was the only way to allow a less restricted human being to take shape and live.” She has published five collections of stories and wrote the screenplay for the 2020 film Let Them All Talk.