“Beguiling…Habeck’s setup allows her to grapple with big questions…[and] imbues the smallest interactions and moments with poetic weight… Surprising and pleasurably uncategorizable. Shark Heart is wild, in every sense of the word.” — New York Times Book Review

Emily Habeck is the author of Shark Heart: A Love Story, an unforgettable story about life’s perennial questions, the fragility of memories, finding joy amidst grief, and creating a meaningful life. This debut novel was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, a Book of the Month selection, and the #1 Indie Next pick for August 2023. Emily has a BFA in Theater from Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts as well as master’s degrees from Vanderbilt Divinity School and Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. She is from Ardmore, Oklahoma and currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Emily's Featured Titles

Shark Heart: A Love Story

S&S/ Marysue Rucci Books |
Literary Fiction
For Lewis and Wren, their first year of marriage is also their last. A few weeks after their wedding, Lewis receives a rare diagnosis. He will retain most of his consciousness, memories, and intellect, but his physical body will gradually turn into a great white shark. As Lewis develops the features and impulses of one of the most predatory creatures in the ocean, his complicated artist’s heart struggles to make peace with his unfulfilled dreams.

At first, Wren internally resists her husband’s fate. Is there a way for them to be together after Lewis changes? Then, a glimpse of Lewis’s developing carnivorous nature activates long-repressed memories for Wren, whose story vacillates between her childhood living on a houseboat in Oklahoma, her time with a college ex-girlfriend, and her unusual friendship with a woman pregnant with twin birds. Woven throughout this bold novel is the story of Wren’s mother, Angela, who becomes pregnant with Wren at fifteen in an abusive relationship amidst her parents’ crumbling marriage. In the present, all of Wren’s grief eventually collides, and she is forced to make an impossible choice.

A sweeping love story that is at once lyrical and funny, airy and visceral, Shark Heart is an unforgettable, gorgeous novel about life’s perennial questions, the fragility of memories, finding joy amidst grief, and creating a meaningful life. This daring debut marks the arrival of a wildly talented new writer abounding with originality, humor, and heart.


Great white sharks and the human experience

What great white sharks have taught me about adaptability, loneliness, beauty, and fear of the unknown.


Essential weirdness

What makes a work of literature or art weird? And why is weirdness compelling to some and repelling others? In this talk, I’ll share my experience writing and publishing a “weird” novel, and why in creating it, I never thought it was anywhere near strange.


Author Q&A

Ask me anything— really, I mean it! I love to engage in informal dialogues about the writing life and the creative process (with or without a conversation partner).


Format options (virtual or in person)

  • Writers Conferences
  • Keynote Presentations
  • Literary and Book Festivals
  • One Book, One Community Events
  • All Campus Read Events


I am happy to craft a talk around a particular theme or topic as well!


The Nature of Ideas: Nurturing Inspiration and Noticing Worlds Within

Every great story begins with an idea that captivates the writer. In this workshop, participants will engage in a playful exploration of their imaginations, delving into their experiences, emotions, and intuition to discover fresh ideas. All levels of experience are welcome. (Participants: 10-20)
Note for participants: Please bring a journal and writing utensil (or a laptop if that’s your preferred writing tool). Additionally, bring something that inspires you creatively. This could be a passage from a book, a song, a screenshot of a famous painting, a photograph your friend took, a film still from an old movie, a small object from nature, a funny voicemail, or anything else from your life.

Emily’s News Link

Emily’s Events Link

Honors, Awards & Recognition

New York Times Editor’s Choice
National Bestseller
#1 Indie Next Pick
ABA Indies Introduce selection
Book of the Month Selection
Goodreads Choice Nominee in the Fiction and Debut categories

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

Similar Authors

Critically Acclaimed Novelist
Critically Acclaimed Novelist
Bestselling Novelist
Bestselling & Award Winning Novelist
New York Times Bestselling Author

Interested in hosting this author?
Send us a message and an A|U Agent will return to you ASAP!