Allegra Goodman was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1967, but grew up in Honolulu where her
parents taught at the University of Hawaii. In Hawaii, Goodman and her sister Paula attended Punahou, an independent school founded in the 19th century by Congregationalist missionaries. She has been writing prose avidly
since the age of seven.
Her first book, a collection of stories titled Total Immersion, was published in 1989 on the same day that she graduated magna cum laude from Harvard. While pursuing her Ph.D in English at Stanford, Goodman also wrote for The New Yorker and completed her second book of stories, The Family Markowitz, which quickly became a national bestseller. The Family Markowitz was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 1996 and was the fiction winner in the First Annual Salon Book Awards.
When her husband accepted a job at MIT, they moved back to Cambridge Mass, where they and their now four children still live.
Her novels to date are: Kaaterskill Falls (1998), Paradise Park (2001), Intuition (2006), The Other Side of the Island (2008) and The Cookbook Collector (2010)
This biography was last updated on 06/25/2010.
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Allegra Goodman explains her motivation for writing Kaaterskill Falls
I was born in Brooklyn New York, but only lived there two weeks. I spent my
childhood in Hawaii, from the time I was two until I went away to college. At
Harvard where I was in the class of '89, I majored in English and philosophy,
and wrote and saw the publication of the stories that comprise my first book,
Total Immersion. After graduation, I got married and spent a year in England
writing fiction while my husband David studied "maths" at Cambridge University.
Then we went to Stanford, where he got a Ph.D. in Computer Science, and I got a
Ph.D. in English. While at Stanford I wrote most of the stories that make up my
second book, The Family Markowitz. Many were published in The New
Yorker. But throughout this time I was working on one long term project, a
novel: Kaaterskill Falls.
I wrote Kaaterskill Falls for three reasons: The first was that I wanted to capture a particular time and place that had made an indelible impression on me and my family. My mother's family had a house in a small town in upstate New York, and every summer they would leave Brooklyn to enjoy the mountains, the lakes, the trees, the shade,...
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