Elise Juska biography

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Elise Juska

Elise Juska

Elise Juska Biography

Elise Juska is the author of four previous novels, including The Blessings, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and one of the Philadelphia Inquirer's Best Books of 2014. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Ploughshares, the Gettysburg Review, the Missouri Review, Good Housekeeping, the Hudson Review, Prairie Schooner, and many other publications. She is the recipient of the Alice Hoffman Prize for Fiction from Ploughshares and her work has been cited by the Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies. She lives outside Philadelphia and directs the undergraduate creative writing program at the University of the Arts, where she received the 2014 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Elise Juska's website

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Interview

A conversation with Elise Juska, author of The Blessings, about a close-knit Irish-Catholic family and the rituals that unite them.

What inspired you to write a novel about a family?
In a way, I feel as though as I've been writing this novel, or some version of it, for a long time. When I was in college and graduate school, I wrote several short stories about close extended families, always with this central image—the aunts around the dining room table, the uncles gathered around the TV, the quiet emphasis on food and children.

I grew up in a big family, one of sixteen cousins on my mother's side, and as I've gotten older, I've thought a lot about what the particular experience of being from a big family means. For me, and I imagine this is fairly common, the family—the beliefs and traditions, that long shared history—is a crucial part of who I am. At the same time, there are parts of my life that remain separate, and private, that the family couldn't or wouldn't know. Figuring out how to write the story I'd been circling since college was probably in part a matter of maturity—approaching the subject with more experience and (hopefully) more insight—and finding the right form in which to tell it.

You grew up in Philadelphia and still live there. Is The Blessings autobiographical or otherwise...

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Books by this Author

Books by Elise Juska at BookBrowse
If We Had Known jacket The Blessings jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Elise Juska 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 readalikes

  • Author Image Not Available

    Chloe Benjamin

    Chloe Benjamin is the author of the novel The Anatomy of Dreams, which received the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award and was longlisted for the 2014 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. A San Francisco native, Benjamin is a ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Blessings

    Try:
    The Immortalists
    by Chloe Benjamin

  • Jonathan Franzen

    Jonathan Franzen

    Jonathan Franzen was born in Western Springs, Illinois, in 1959, and grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. After graduating from Swarthmore College in 1981 he studied at the Freie Universität in ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Blessings

    Try:
    The Corrections
    by Jonathan Franzen

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Book Discussion
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A captivating thriller-at-sea set in Spanish colonial Havana in the 1860s.

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Readers Recommend

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