Arlan Hess is a writer and bookseller. She received an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has completed research at the University College of Wales-Aberystwyth and at the University of Padua. From 2001-2015, Arlan taught literature & creative writing at Washington & Jefferson College, and from 2002-2007 was the poetry editor of Paper Street, a Pittsburgh-based journal of poetry, fiction, and interview. In April 2015, she purchased City Books, Pittsburgh’s oldest existing bookstore, which she now runs full time.
From 2018-2020, Arlan hosted Shelf Life, a book show about Pittsburgh authors, and led Arts & Literature tours around the old Allegheny West neighborhood in which City Books is located. She directs the City Books Writer-in-Residence program and is a regular contributor to The Writer Shed, a podcast hosted by David W. Berner of WBBM/WXRT radio in Chicago.
Arlan serves on the board of Write Pittsburgh, a non-profit that provides no-cost writing workshops for Pittsburgh and regional youth aged 13-18, and advises the Allegheny County Jail Oversight Board Sub-committee on Books on the re-development of a jail library and improving the flow of outside books to incarcerated people.
With credits in food, music, and travel writing, her work has appeared in print and online in the The Pittsburgh Quarterly, Thirty-First Bird Review, Connotation Press, The Literary Bohemian, Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, atU2.com, USA Today, among others.
She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, artist Patrick Schmidt, and their beagle, Moneypenny.