AÍFE MURRAY tells stories that have been erased or covered over – via artists books; writing; installation; talks; performance & map making.

Aífe [EE-fah] is the author of Maid as Muse: how servants changed Emily Dickinson’s life and language which was a finalist for the 2011 Northern California Book Award in General Nonfiction.

Maid as Muse is the final piece of a multi-form project, Kitchen Table Poetics, for which Aífe conceived and has led public walking tours of Amherst from the Dickinson servants’ perspective. She created a mixed media installation and public art for The Mead Museum’s Word As Object: Emily Dickinson & Contemporary Art, for which she collaborated with the Dickinson Museum’s house cleaners and gardeners on the artists’ book Art of Service.

Aífe is adapting her Maid as Muse research into curricular materials for K-12 classrooms.

Aífe has been in-residence at the Emily Dickinson Museum; was an affiliated scholar with Stanford University’s Institute for Research on Gender; the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation Fellow at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program; and named the 2007 Scholar in Amherst by the Emily Dickinson International Society.

Previous transdisciplinary works include a woman scratched on ivory exhibited in solo and group installations / readings at Small Press Traffic Literary Arts Center. “tracking” – one of seven pieces in the book Everything Is Real Except the Obvious (Em Press, Mill Valley, CA 1990) – is a part of this work.

Aífe is currently working on a project about her grandmother going toe to toe with the Ku Klux Klan.

For this work she was awarded a research fellowship by the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History and writing fellowships at the Millay Colony, where she was the Corrine Steel & Synnova Bay Hayes Fellow, and at the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers.



Maid as Muse