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Work Samples

"The Potrero Complex," Chapter 1

In "The Potrero Complex," Journalist Rags Goldner is battle-scarred and heartbroken after covering a devastating pandemic that rages in Baltimore for five years. She leaves the city with her partner in search of a simpler life in small-town Maryland—only to discover nothing in Canary is simple. A teenager is missing and it falls to Rags to fight the forces of apathy, paranoia, and creeping fascism to learn the shocking truth about Effie Rutter’s fate—and the fate of thousands like her.  Forthcoming from Regal House Publishing, August 2022.

PDF icon "The Potrero Complex," Chapter 1

"The Nighthawkers," Chapter 1

"The Nighthawkers" is a literary paranormal romance rooted in archaeological research--sort of. Archaeologist Pauline Marsh is convinced she’s an unlovable freak. Who else in the world shares her ability to locate ancient artifacts without a map, hear their stories, and commune with long-dead artisans? But all that changes when handsome, charismatic Grey Henley persuades her she’s the girl of his dreams. For Pauline, Grey is the family she never knew. And for Grey, Pauline’s treasure-finding skills will make him immensely rich.  But the lovers are keeping secrets from one another that push their relationship to the breaking point. Grey is in league with a criminal relative and Pauline is visited by an other-worldly stranger with a message. Sometimes, it takes a broken heart to discover your true destiny—and find eternal love where you least expect it. Forthcoming from The Wild Rose Press, 2022.

PDF icon "The Nighthawkers," Chapter 1

"Tent City," excerpt from Chapter 1

"Tent City," a novel, places ordinary Americans in extraordinary circumstances, precipitated by dire economic disruption. As the American town of Willing crumbles under a collapsing economy, hundreds seek refuge in the dense “city” of tents that spring up in the Kings’ big backyard, setting the once-thriving King family on a collision course with disillusionment, disaster, and for some, a new beginning.
At the heart of this story are two intertwined families struggling to survive. 

PDF icon "Tent City," excerpt from Chapter 1

"Dreams of Song Times" Excerpt

In "Dreams of Song Times," a grounded fantasy novel, Ell, a human-mermaid hybrid, knows little about her origins or the magical book she finds after her parents disappear. She will learn astonishing secrets about her past and her future—but only after endangering her own life to save others.

PDF icon "Dreams of Song Times" Excerpt


About Amy

Baltimore City - Bromo Tower Arts District

Amy Bernstein's picture
Amy L. Bernstein writes for the page, the stage, and forms in between. Her multi-genre fiction explores the messy entanglements of politics and culture in the lives of mermaids, demented bakers, homeless refugees, scientists from the future, and other beleaguered characters.  Baltimore, as a backdrop or as specific locations, figures prominently in much of her work. A former award-winning journalist,  Amy 's  novels, short fiction, experimental drama, and poetry are grounded in research... more

The Maryland "Odyssey" Project

The Maryland Odyssey Pilot Project & Symposium was an innovative, grant-funded initiative that introduced a groundbreaking new translation of Homer’s Odyssey into three high school classrooms in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. Working with their teachers, 132 students in grades 9, 10, and 11 wrote poetry and speeches, compose original dramatic, dance, and visual arts work, and learn about period history and society, all in response to this new text. To generate awareness of the project and the text, Odyssey translator Emily Wilson (a Macarthur Foundation “genius” grant awardee) was invited as the guest speaker along with a panel of local academicians to discuss the challenges of translating this work. This standing-room-only symposium was free and open to the public on Oct. 12, 2018. A professional video highlighting several students’ reflections and work on the Odyssey was prepared to memorialize the project. The project was featured in Humanities Magazine. Amy L. Bernstein conceived, produced, and obtained funding for the project.

Fran, The Second Time Around

Fran, The Second Time Around is a novel written for the young adult market (in this case, ages 12-16). 

Fran Singer is a regular 8th grader, when suddenly, everything changes. A tragic accident with major consequences shoots her out of her ordinary world into one racked with guilt, shame, and complete alienation. Starting over after all that is not easy—but is it possible? Will Fran’s life be better, the second time around?

The novel, originally written in 2008, has been reissued via self-publishing. The book is garnering excellent reviews and was selected in the fall of 2020 as a starred feature on a popular book-review blog: 

Sample Reviews:
I  highly recommend this book to anyone, young adults or older, who has dealt with heartache, devastating loss, guilt, or grief.
-Bonnie DeMoss, book blogger and reviewer

This story is not just another teen angst story but a story of redemption, forgiveness and self-actualization. A mouth-dropping plot element is sure to keep the reader wondering."
-Daneace Jeffery, author/high school educator

A suspenseful story full of teen obstacles that provide humor, compassion, and despair. This page-turning story is relevant...."
-Stacey Nunn, library media specialist

Nothing is guaranteed in life and this book shares an important message and story for teenage readers and adults as well."
-Melanie Weiss, author, Crossing Lines and Spoken

Terminal Lucidity

Terminal Lucidity is a full-length play written in a fit of existential despair shortly after the 2016 Presidential election.  The play was successfully produced, ran for several performances, and was featured in the Baltimore Sun as a pick of the week in August 2018. The play featured a cast of 9 actors, all of whom identified as women. The mixed-race cast ranged in age from 16 to 70.  Directed by Melanie S. Armer.

She could be your friend, your neighbor, your relative: And she's struggling to cope with a monster in her midst. What's the right thing to do? Is there a right thing? Guest-starring Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, the Goddess of Dada expression.
The piece, a response to contemporary horrors in the U.S., is a an homage to the original Dada movement, which was led by artists in Europe and Russia in response to the horrors of World War I. Baroness Elsa was a real person who influence Dada performance art. 

“The realization that reason and anti-reason, sense and nonsense, design and chance, consciousness and unconsciousness, belong together as necessary parts of a whole--this was the central message of Dada.”
Terminal Lucidity: The moments before death, when there’s a brief resurgence of physical and intellectual energy, alertness, and clarity.

The Legend of Tommy Tremain

The Legend of Tommy Tremain is a full-length play exploring the impact of public monuments and the often harmful legacy bequeathed by their creators. This is a work of fiction that taps into the very real emotions and experiences of those who live among public monuments that defy and deny their own histories and heritages. The play, developed in close consultation with Black theater artists, received a grant from Maryland Humanities for a public reading and discussion. The post-play discussion was faciliated by Cynthia Nix, PhD, University of Baltimore and Sheila Gaskins, a writer, performing artist and co-founder of Artpartheid.  The play is now under consideration for a semi-staged outdoor performance in upstate New York in the spring of 2021.

A statue of Tommy Tremain stands in the town square. Who is Tommy? Hero, savior, villain, or oppressor? Does anyone know the real story behind the legend? And what happens to the truth over time? Over the course of three centuries, the story of this statute unfolds as a tangled web of lies, myths, buried truths, and startling visions. At the center of it all is a Black woman re-shaping history, and the future, in her own image.
“The lion’s story will never be known as long as the hunter is the one to tell it.”
--Proverb from Kenya and Zimbabwe

A Walk in the Park

A Walk in the Park is a poem taken from my chapbook, White Girl on a Pogo Stick. This poem was published in the Yellow Arrow Journal in the fall of 2020. This particular poem was inspired by an actual walk in a state park in Anne Arundel County. I researched the history of the park and the area, which helped me to understand the historical chain of posession and occupancy of the property. This history, and the poem, offer a microcosm of white usurpation and domination of land that had belonged to others. 

Selected Poems

My poetry, like my long-form fiction, often addresses the intersection of politics and culture. This is a small sample of my work in free-form and prose poetry. The three poems here are Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window (in three stanzas), Vision(ordin)ary, and Reminder to Self/Whichever.

Workforce: A Play Written for a Cast of Disabled Actors

Workforce was written specifically to provide an opportunity for actors with a wide range of physical and psychological disabilities to rehearse and perform a play in front of a live audience. The project was funded with a competitive Rubys Artist Grant awarded by the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance in 2014. The play was performed in October 2015.

The play itself, lasting approximately an hour, was the culmination of more than six months of rehearsals by a cast consisting of five disabled and two non-disabled adults. The cast was a remarkable and unique assemblage of individuals who came together specifically for this work. The majority had not acted or been in a play before, so this was a new and extremely challenging experience for them. Their journey to master the material, learn lines and blocking, grow into a character and understand motivation, react to what is happening on stage, and immerse themselves in the piece—all of this was new to these adults.

As far as I know, this is the only play ever presented in greater Baltimore featuring a mixed-race, mixed-age cast of actors with disabilities.

  • Workforce

    Six images of Workforce cast and panelists
    Photos taken before and after the live performance of Workforce, highlighting cast, panelists, and audience.

Radio Feature: 30th Anniversary of the 'Baltimore Uprising'

As a former freelance reporter for NPR and other public radio news programs, I am including this seminal feature story that I researched, wrote, and recorded for NPR in 1998 to mark the 30th anniversary of the unrest that took place in Baltimore in 1968 following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. I consider this piece to be a work of literary art in that a radio feature is all about curating voices and constructing a narrative. The difference between journalism and fiction, in this case, is that all the people included in the story are real and report their real lived experiences. My literary work creates parallel universes where such people would do the same thing--except that they would be invented humans, rather than real humans. 

Amy's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.