Chatham writer’s sister story debuts in new sorority book



CHATHAM, NJ – Colleen Markley understands the dynamics of sisterhood relationships and when the call for nominations went out for the Nickie’s Prize for Humor Writing, the winners will be featured in the new book “Sisters !: Bonded by Love and Laughter”, Markley knew she had a story to tell.

His essay, “Unflappably Calm, Occasionally Furious, Ready and Willing to Hide the Bodies,” was one of 21 submissions chosen from 263 entries from 39 states, as well as Australia, Canada, Israel, Kenya, Spain and the United Kingdom, for placement in the Book of Sisters.

Colleen Markley is a writer featured in the book “Sisters !: Bonded by Love and Laughter”, launched in a virtual celebration on November 1st. Here she is pictured with an image of the book cover. (Image courtesy of Colleen Markley)

Described as “the humorous ups and downs of fraternity”, with writers of all levels and backgrounds, the chosen people were inspired by the brotherly bond between humorist Marcia Stewart and her sister Nickie, for who the prize was named, who died in 2018, just two months after learning she had lung cancer.

Stewart called submissions like Markley’s in a press release from the Erma Bombeck writers’ workshop at the University of Dayton, publisher of the anthology, as capturing “hilarious childhood memories about the meaning of fraternity late in life “.

The book is celebrated at a virtual launch on November 1, with more details here on the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop Facebook page. Registration is required for the launch, but participation is free.

The competition for writers like Markley, Stewart added, was to honor her sister’s memory and “provide opportunities for writers like Nickie – especially those who wanted to try their hand at humorous writing.”

“I am delighted to be included in this anthology with so many awesome comedians,” said Markley. “And my sister is delighted to know what she is getting for her birthday this year.”

For Markley, who was named ‘humor writer of the month’ by the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop in June 2021, “to which she joked, she” also works to be funny every other month of the year, ” when she found out about the Nickie’s Prize competition, she said she “knew exactly what I wanted to write about”.

It was this connection to her sister, Karen, whom she joked in an email to Patch was “obviously named before memes”, but which Markley said she was still referred to by the nickname “Petunia” , which inspired her to write her article.

The sisters grew up in Pequannock Township, with Markley a resident of the Borough of Chatham for nearly two decades, her 20th birthday in the borough next February.

“Karen shares my sense of humor and she and I love to laugh together, go through whatever life throws at us,” she said of her sister.

The book contains “questions and answers with famous sisters, poems and songs about sisters, quotes and lists of anecdotes about real and fictional sisters in books, television and movies”, with writers including author Kelly Corrigan, Jenny Lawson, Deborah Tannen, Marion Winik and Carol Saline; Laraine Newman of Saturday Night Live; songwriter Stella Parton; and comedian Wendy Liebman. There are tributes in the book about Bombeck, including one of its columns and an interview with writer Nancy Berk celebrating the relationship Bombeck’s sons, Andy and Matt, cherish with their sister, Betsy.

Described as “an award-winning writer, speaker and beneficent” on her website, Markley recounts in her biography that she began studying English at Boston University and when she read “Beowulf”, became fascinated. through the art of adapting classic books to scenarios. , moving on to the College of Communications, where she immersed herself in screenwriting, interned at Jim Henson Pictures and won both the Screenwriting Achievement Award and the Blue Chip Award before graduating with distinction.

Before staying home to raise his children, Markley worked as a writer for Thirteen / WNET.

Once she got involved in the Chatham community, Markley became active with the Newcomer’s Club, Chatham Education Foundation, Junior League of Summit, Junior Leagues of New Jersey and Small League Big Impact, according to her site. Web.

When Markley wrote that she had returned to freelance, she launched her blog, “Yes, It Really Happened” in 2013 and began writing novels.

Her book, Lilith Land, is described as a “speculative fiction novel” and is a “story about a pandemic virus and the end of the world where only women survive”, which she follows with, “it’s a novel, not an action plan. ”

Follow Markley’s writing adventures on his website at and his Facebook page at

Click here to watch Sisters !: Bonded by Love and Laughter on Amazon, with proceeds from the book destined for the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop endowment fund.

Questions or comments about this story? Do you have a tip? Contact me at: [email protected]


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