Samantha Irby is a comedian, author, and blogger. When asked in an interview when she knew she was a writer, Irby responded, “Probably not until I saw my first book in an actual bookstore. Although even now I kind of feel like a fraud because I’ve never taken a single writing class or workshop and I read Bird by Bird so long ago I can’t even remember what it said.”
Irby started writing fiction and short stories in high school. She began writing her first blog on MySpace in 2008. Before she quit working to become a full-time writer, she worked the front desk at an animal hospital. “I’m pretty pragmatic, so I didn’t ever want to be a writer because it didn’t feel like a sustainable job. I didn’t start writing as a career until I quit my hourly job in July 2016,”(“Chicago author Samantha Irby talks sex, adulthood and being BFFs with Roxane Gay,” Chicago Tribune). On her current blog, she shares the humor she finds in her personal life, including topics such as her race, weight, and sex life.
Irby describes her latest book, we are never meeting in real life, (a New York Times bestseller), this way, “It’s basically a collection of strung-together swear words that turned out pretty funny. It chronicles the last several years of my life, with bits from the past and a little nod to the future.” Others have described her honest writing style as, “far from indulgent or unthinking; her writing is a chronicle of resilience, albeit one that might leave you with a bad case of the giggles,” (“Seriously, Everything Is Funny to Samantha Irby,” ELLE magazine). In 2016 FX announced the purchase of the television rights to Irby’s 2013 memoir Meaty with the intent to adapt it into a series.
“Reading Samantha Irby’s We Are Never Meeting In Real Life cracked my heart all the way open. The essays in this outstanding collection are full of her signature humor, wit, and charming self-deprecation but there is so much more to her writing. For every laugh, there is a bittersweet moment that could make you cry. From black women and mental health to the legacies created by poverty to dating while living in an all too human body, Irby lays bare the beautiful, uncompromising truths of her life. I cannot remember the last time I was so moved by a book. We Are Never Meeting in Real Life is as close to perfect as an essay collection can get.” ~Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author of Difficult Women and Bad Feminist
Irby began her education at Northern Illinois University but dropped out her freshman year because of her mother’s death due to multiple sclerosis. Her father, an alcoholic, died just a few days before she turned 18. Irby herself lives with Crohn’s disease, degenerative arthritis, anxiety, and depression, which she writes about on her blog and in her three books. “People are always like, ‘You’re so open, is that hard?’ and it isn’t. Once I started writing about myself honestly and getting grateful feedback, that made it easy for me,” (“Seriously, Everything Is Funny to Samantha Irby,” ELLE magazine).
I write for women of all ages, stripes and colors. My primary focus is women. If men read it and like it, that is fantastic, but I’m just trying to make a woman’s day better. If you sit down and read an entry in my blog, I want you to go away from that chuckling at the very least, and maybe seeing yourself or feeling better or less alone. That sounds trite, but it’s true. If you read any of my stuff and it gives anything to you, that’s what matters to me, (“Chicago author Samantha Irby talks sex, adulthood and being BFFs with Roxane Gay,” Chicago Tribune).
Her work has also appeared in The Rumpus, In Our Words, and Jezebel. Irby married Kirsten Jennings in the summer of 2016 — “The short version: she tweeted at me, I responded, she responded, we got married. The long version is in my book, so you’ll just have to read it to find out the rest.” Irby now resides and works in Kalamazoo, Michigan.