Marshall Jon Fisher was born in 1963 in Ithaca, New York, grew up in Miami, and graduated from Brandeis University, where he played varsity tennis. He worked as a sportswriter in Miami and a tennis pro in Munich before moving to New York City, where he received an M.A. in English at City College. In 1989 he moved to Boston and began working as a freelance writer and editor.
From 1995 to 2002 he wrote on a variety of topics for The Atlantic Monthly, ranging from wooden tennis rackets to Internet fraud, and his work has also appeared in Harper’s, Discover, DoubleTake, and other publications, as well as The Best American Essays 2003. His book The Ozone Layer was selected by The New York Public Library as one of the best books for teenagers of 1993. His book (with his father, David E. Fisher) Tube: the Invention of Television was published by Counterpoint in 1996 and by Harcourt Brace in paperback in 1997. Their second book together, Strangers in the Night: a Brief History of Life on Other Worlds (Counterpoint 1998), was selected by the New York Public Library as one of the twenty-five Books to Remember of 1998.
In 2009, A Terrible Splendor was published to great acclaim. The Washington Post wrote, “Fisher has gotten hold of some mighty themes: war and peace, love and death, sports and savagery…. As the match enters its final set, all the narrative pieces lock together, and A Terrible Splendor becomes as engrossing as the contest it portrays.” The Wall Street Journal found the book “rich and rewarding,” and the San Francisco Chronicle called Splendor “enthralling…a gripping tale…. Wedding the nuances of a sport to broader historical events is a challenge, but Fisher pulls the task off with supreme finesse, at once revealing the triumph and tragedy of a remarkable tennis match.”
Marshall Jon Fisher’s novel, A Backhanded Gift, was published in February 2013 by New Chapter Press. Recently he completed another novel, Nabokov’s Advantage, about the great writer (and his future wife) when he was just a promising young poet eking out a living teaching tennis and English in Russian Berlin, 1923. This novel is still in search of a publisher.
Marshall lives in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts with his wife, Mileta Roe (a professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature at Bard College at Simon’s Rock), and their two sons, Satchel and Bram.