Mississippi Writers and Musicians

Darcey Steinke Darcey Steinke

Major Works

  • Up Through the Water
  • Jesus Saves
  • Suicide Blonde
  • Joyful Noise: The New Testament Revisited (essays with Rich Moody)
  • "Satan's Cheerleaders" (1993, Spin)
  • Pocket Canons-John --Introduction, published 1999


Darcey Steinke: A Biography

Up Through the Water by Darcey SteinkeDarcey Steinke is currently a professor in the English Department at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi. Her  novels, Up Through  the Water and Jesus Saves, have been selected as Notable Books the Year by The New York Times.        Suicide Blonde, her second novel, has been translated into seven languages. She has also edited a  collection of essays with Rick Moody entitled Joyful Noise: The New Testament Revisited. Her journalism appears regularly in Spin. In addition, she has a web project called blindspot. She was born in Virginia, grew up in New York, but now lives in Oxford, Mississippi as the 1998-99  recipient of the Renee and John Grisham Southern Writer-In-Residence Award. She is married and has one daughter, Abbie, who is three. Steinke says,  "Growing up in a family full of ministers, the written word became my whole life. My father, a Lutheran minister, would write out his sermons, and then I'd hear him practice them over and over."

Born in 1964, as a child, Steinke stuttered so she fell in love with the writtenJoyful Noise by Darcey Steinke and Rick Moody word and began not only reading books but writing her own.  She began writing at the age of seven about a vampire.  According to the news desk at Ole Miss,  support for Steinke's nomination for the award came from Barry Hannah, writer-in-residence for Ole Miss and an admirer of her work. "Darcey has the good ear of a poet and is a risky and brave writer who combines modern punk with religion," he said. "She establishes her own world and does it very  thoroughly and convincingly."

After graduating from high school in Roanoke, Steinke received a bachelor's degree from Goucher  College in Baltimore and a master's degree from the University of Virginia, where she was a Hoynes  Fellow. She then went on to Stanford University and completed a postgraduate Wallace Stegner  Fellowship. At Ole Miss, Steinke teaches a writing workshop while she works on her two latest books Milk, a short erotic novel, and The Great Disappointment, a long historical novel about the Seventh Day Adventist Church.         


A Review of Jesus Saves

Jesus Saves by Darcey SteinkeDarcey Steinke's latest novel is a fictional story called Jesus Saves.  This unusual story is told in a poetic manner that flows in and out of reality and the reality that Steinke has created.  The story is about two girls that are from different backgrounds, but both suffer forms of loneliness and depression.  Ginger, a troubled minister's daughter, has suffered the loss of her mother and hasn't been the same since.  She is somewhat of a hell-cat, troublesome in the way that she ignores what is right and rebels constantly against her father and society.  Her choice in a boyfriend also reflects her poor decision making abilities and judgment.  Ted is a rebel without a cause.  He is also an outcast from society and looked upon as a menace.  He is the only one that Ginger can talk to,  and the only one that makes her feel good.  Sandy Patrick, the Erie face on the posters around town, is the other female character that we encounter.  She was kidnapped from her summer camp by a man that we know only as "the troll."  This man repeatedly rapes Sandy throughout the book and often feeds her little or nothing and what he does give her is not enough to support a small animal like as the cat he owns.  Sandy's torment is the troll, her only human contact she is aware of.  He moves her often to keep away the authorities. Claire Jackson, SHS researcher

Symbolism plays a major role in this book.  For Ginger, the society that shuns her and considers her a menace is the church congregation.  Her father is the minister of this  crooked congregation, and he  is somewhat like the Reverend Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter, troubled by a secret that torments him in ways that only a person can torture himself.  Ginger's father's torment is not visible physically. His torments are  more in the way of late nights and malnutrition.

A Review of Satan's Cheerleader
By Claire Jackson (SHS)

In 1993, SPIN published an article by Darcey Steinke called Satan's Cheerleaders.  The article was written as an informative piece about a heavy metal group in Norway called Satan's Cheerleaders.  She vividly tells the reader how the group was formed and some of their actions-- such as eating brain stew and burning medieval Norwegian churches.  The telling of their story instills fear as well as understanding about the group and their seemingly-odd traditions and actions.  The article is written in Mrs. Steinke's poetic language,  which makes the reader "see" the images that she creates.  The images that evolve in the article are sometimes disturbing, but necessary,  to make the reader understand the group.


Related WebsitesDarcey Steinke

This is an excellent site that includes a story by Darcey Steinke called blindspot.

Links to articles and info about her four books can be found here.

This site has her published work called "Satan's Cheerleaders" that was featured in the 1997 Spin.

This is a little bit about Mrs. Steinke that is located at this Ole Miss web page.



Ada'web. "blindspot."  [Online] Available at  http://adaweb.walkerart.org/project/blindspot/.

Little, Brown and Company.  "About the Author: Darcey Steinke." [Online] Available at     http://www.pathfinder.com/twep/little_brown/authors/darcey_steinke/index.html.

Odom, Will.  "Grisham Writer-in-Residence Endowment Brings Author Darcey Steinke to Ole Miss." [Online] Available at

Steinke, Darcey.  Jesus Saves.  New York:  Grove Press. 1997

Steinke, Darcey.  "Satan's Cheerleaders."  [Online] Available at http://www-user.lut.fi/~mega/muzac/news/SpinArticle.html.   Spin.  1993





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