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Cynthia Ozick biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Read-Alikes

Cynthia Ozick
Photo Credit: Marion Ettlinger

Cynthia Ozick

How to pronounce Cynthia Ozick: OH-zik

Cynthia Ozick Biography

Cynthia Ozick was born in Manhattan and has lived in the New York City area most of her life. She attended Hunter College High School, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from New York University with honors in English, and holds a master’s degree from Ohio State University. She lives in Westchester County and is married to Bernard Hallote, a retired lawyer. Their daughter, Rachel S. Hallote, an archaeologist, is the director of the Jewish studies program at the State University of New York at Purchase.

She is acclaimed for her many works of fiction and criticism. She was a finalist for the National Book Award for her previous novel, The Puttermesser Papers, which was named one of the top ten books of the year by the New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, and the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Her most recent essay collection, Quarrel & Quandary, won the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. Ozick’s work has been translated into thirteen languages worldwide. Her classic novella The Shawl was produced for the stage in New York, directed by Sidney Lumet.

Without question, Cynthia Ozick is among the major living American writers. She has published widely — beginning with the novel Trust in 1966. Over the years she has written poems, short stories, essays, novels, and plays. Among them: The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories (1971); Art & Ardor: Essays (1983); The Cannibal Galaxy (1983); The Messiah of Stockholm (1987); Metaphor & Memory: Essays (1989); The Shawl (1989); Epodes: The First Poems (1992); Portrait of the Artist as a Bad Character and Other Essays on Writing (1994); and Fame & Folly (1996). Her many awards include a Guggenheim fellowship and the Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

She has the unique honor of being the first writer to be given the Rea Award for the Short Story. In making their selection, the jurors said: "A writer of great intelligence, moral energy, and imaginative power, Cynthia Ozick has appreciably widened the range of what the short story is able to be . . . Reading The Shawl, we are moved past the truth of fact to a deeper, different understanding; we bear witness to the truth of art. Only rarely does this happen, and when it does, it must be celebrated."

She published Heir To The Glimmering World in 2004 and Foreign Bodies in 2010.



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Interview

Cynthia Ozick explains why the son of A.A. Milne, creator of Winnie-the-Pooh, became the inspiration for one of the key characters in her latest novel.

In Heir to the Glimmering World there are several actual heirs, including the profligate James A’Bair — a character inspired by the son of A. A. Milne, creator of Winnie-the-Pooh. What was the source of this inspiration?
Some time ago I happened on the obituary of Christopher Milne, A. A. Milne’s grown son, whom we know mainly through Ernest Shepard’s indelible illustrations of a small boy in short pants. At his death he was the owner of a bookshop hidden away in the north of England, having attempted all his life to slough off his identification with Pooh and Eeyore and all the rest. He wanted to flee from the artifice of his father’s creation: he longed to become an autonomous adult, to be a man, not the object of nostalgic pilgrimages to a living shrine not of his making. Or so I thought, reading that obituary notice. In my novel the character inspired by Christopher Robin is named James A’Bair, eventually to be dubbed the Bear Boy. The Bear Boy struggles to climb out of what Thomas Mann called "the well of the past," the past that has immured him in an imaginary childhood. His single-minded aim is to escape being costumed forever in lace collar and rouged knees, forever five ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Cynthia Ozick at BookBrowse
Foreign Bodies jacket Dictation jacket The DIN in the Head jacket Heir To The Glimmering World jacket
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Read-Alikes

All the books below are recommended as read-alikes for Cynthia Ozick but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose read-alikes

  • Amy Bloom

    Amy Bloom

    Author of three New York Times best-sellers and three collections of short stories, a children's book (another coming in 2022) and a ground-breaking collection of essays. Bloom has been a nominee for both the National Book ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Heir To The Glimmering World

    Try:
    Away
    by Amy Bloom

  • Pete Hamill

    Pete Hamill

    Pete Hamill was born in Brooklyn, N. Y. in 1935, the oldest of seven children of immigrants from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He attended Catholic schools, leaving school at 16 to work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard as a sheet ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Heir To The Glimmering World

    Try:
    North River
    by Pete Hamill

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