Diane Gottlieb writes open-hearted stories about people in pain who choose to grow.



I am a writer of flash fiction and nonfiction, essays, poetry, reviews and interviews, whose work has appeared in About Place Journal, Atlas and Alice, Atticus Review, Barrelhouse, Barren, Bath Flash Fiction, and BrevityBlog (and that’s just the A’s and B’s)!

I was awarded a fellowship residency at Writers Community of Dairy Hollow and a residency at Ragdale. An essay of mine won Tiferet Journal’s 2021 Writing Contest in nonfiction. Others were finalists in SmokeLong Quarterly’s 2022 summer micro contest and nominated for the 2023 Best of the Net, 2023 Best Small Fictions, and twice for 2023 Best Microfiction--one of which has since been selected for inclusion in the anthology. Two of my (very) short poems won Identity Theory's Best 22-Word Poems of 2022.

I’m on the Hippocampus Magazine’s reviews team and am the Prose and Nonfiction Editor at Emerge Literary Journal.

I’m also editing Awakenings: Stories of Body & Consciousness, an anthology of … well … stories about the body. It will be published in October 2023 by Emerge Literary Journal Editions.

I have an MSW, an MEd, and at 58, I graduated from Antioch University LA, with an MFA in creative writing. Getting my MFA was one of the best decisions of my life, and I will forever be grateful for the new worlds and opportunities the writing life has brought me.

Diane on recent trip with Steven to Greece
Diane Writing

This Writer's Beginnings

My own world began in Queens, New York. A two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment on the second floor of a six-story building on the very busy 108th Street in Forest Hills, where I lived with my parents and two older sisters. The turbulence outside, made its way in. My house was often either too noisy or too quiet. Lonely.

While my peers loved watching Looney Tunes and Batman, my favorite cartoons were Mighty Mouse, Underdog, and Casper—I needed a world where the ghosts were friendly. Of course, there was Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. How I wished he’d be my neighbor!

I grew up writing poems:

There was a baby deer in the forest.
Her mother died.
She was all alone.

There was a baby elephant in the jungle.
Her mother died.
She was all alone.

Many more just like these with giraffes, bears, tigers. You get the picture.

I later moved onto writing poems about being picked last in gym, being made fun of in gym, wishing there was no gym.

No one ever accused me of being inconsistent.

When I moved onto college, to graduate school—for three different masters degrees—and through many different careers (I was a social worker, a psychotherapist, a yoga instructor, a child-care provider, a realtor, and I started and now run my own tutoring business), writing always came along with me, as did the place in my heart reserved for the underdog—the person who is on the cusp of finding herself and bringing what she’s found out into the world.

I write towards that aim.

Possible June 3--Me and my roots

Me and my roots

Steven and Diane hiking

My Writing Life

I just finished writing a novel called You Oughta Know—a nod to Alanis Morrisette. I’m querying agents right now—fingers crossed! The novel is about affairs, divorce, new relationships, mother-daughter drama. It’s fun and funny—heart-funny—and Deena, the main character, finally makes the choice to grow.

I’m the editor of the anthology Awakenings: Stories of Bodies & Consciousness, scheduled for publication in October 2023, and I’m working on a novella in flash about a dear character named Joe and a collection of essays—short memoir pieces about … growth.

I also LOVE writing book reviews, where I get to celebrate others’ words, doing interviews with fascinating people, and writing my blog WomanPause, which lifts the voices of women over 50 who continue to grow.

Growth. Most of us do not sign up so readily for growth. Growth involves change, but we kind of like things the way we are. It’s comfortable. Or we may fear change. Fear can be a beast!

Sometimes, the Universe throws us a curve, and we have no choice but to change. My first husband died in a car accident when he was 46. (I was 44.) My life changed in an instant. That was not in my control. But … I decided every ounce of that pain from that tragedy was going to serve a purpose.

I made the choice to grow. I went back to school—twice! First, I got my masters in secondary English education because I so much wanted to share with middle and high schoolers my love of reading and writing. Second—my MFA, when I was 58!

At 52, I started my own business. At 54, I married Steven. I guess, I keep making the choice to grow.