About Me

Michelle Panik was born and raised in Orange County, California, where she spent her childhood surfing, skateboarding, skeet shooting, riding motorcycles, and generally keeping up with her two older brothers. She is also the person writing this biography. And while she likes third-person for her fiction, where her self is concerned, I prefer to talk directly. There, that’s better.


I live on the edge of California, in Carlsbad, with my husband and our kids. I've previously worked as a publications coordinator, a freelance writer, and a middle- and high-school teacher. These days, I teach noncredit ESL at MiraCosta College and the fine art of bug-hunting to our five-year-old twins.

I also write stories.

My story about a man who wins fame (but not fortune) after eating a four-pound burrito was given Honorable Mention in Salem College's 2009 International Literary Awards. It was subsequently published in Alimentum and written up in The Review Review.

More recently, "The Education of Monica Steele" was one of two finalists for Terrain's Sixth Annual Contest. Additionally, Feminine Inquiry chose "The Stroller" as Runner-up in their Fall 2015 Fiction Contest. I am also a reader for Cahoodaloodaling.

For a long time I had a running habit, something I subsequently kicked in favor of a triathlon addiction. These days I run and spin, but not nearly as intensely. I also do some ocean swimming, body surfing, indoor rock climbing, and occasionally paddle out with my board for a few rides. All of which supply both story ideas and time to develop them. Life is good.


  • 2009: University of California, San Diego Extension. TESOL Certificate
  • 2003: University of Maryland, College Park. Master of Fine Arts, Creative Writing
  • 2001: University of California, San Diego. Bachelor of Arts, Literature/Writing and Art History/Criticism