Donna Woolfolk Cross biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Donna Woolfolk Cross

Donna Woolfolk Cross

Donna Woolfolk Cross Biography

Donna Woolfolk Cross graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in English. She moved to London, England, and worked as an editorial assistant for W.H. Allen and Company. Upon her return to the United States, Cross worked at Young and Rubicam, a Madison Avenue advertising firm, before going on to graduate school at UCLA for Literature and Writing.

Cross then moved to Syracuse, New York, with her husband and began teaching in the English department at an upstate New York college. She is the author of two books on language, Word Abuse and Mediaspeak, and coauthor of Speaking of Words and Daddy's Little Girl. Her novel, Pope Joan, was adapted to film in 2009.

From the author's website

Donna Woolfolk Cross's website

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Interview

Donna Woolfolk Cross discusses the controversial Pope Joan and what she thinks will most surprise the readers of her book.

Q: Most people have never heard of Pope Joan. How did you first learn of her existence?

A: I learned about Joan quite by accident. I was reading a book in French and came across a reference to a pope named "Jeanne." At first I thought this was simply an amusing typographical error--"Jeanne" (Joan) for "Jean" (John). But the reference piqued my curiosity, and the next day I went to the library and checked the Catholic Encyclopedia. Sure enough, there was an entry on Joan--the woman who lived disguised as a man and rose to become Pope of the Church in the ninth century.

Q: Does the Catholic Church officially recognize Joan's papacy?

A: Far from it. The Church position is that Joan's papacy is nothing more than unsubstantiated legend. But there are more than five hundred ancient manuscripts containing accounts of Joan's papacy, including those of such acclaimed authors as Platina, Petrarch, and Boccaccio.

Q: So you're convinced that Joan really existed?

A: Given the obscurity and confusion of the times, it is impossible to determine with certainty whether Joan existed or not. The truth of what happened in a.d. 855 may never be fully known. That is why I chose to write a novel and not a ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Donna Woolfolk Cross at BookBrowse
Pope Joan jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Donna Woolfolk Cross 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

  • Helen Castor

    Helen Castor

    Helen Castor is a historian of medieval England and a Bye-Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Her first book, Blood and Roses, was long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2005 and won the English Association's ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Pope Joan

    Try:
    Joan of Arc
    by Helen Castor

  • Kimberly Cutter

    Kimberly Cutter

    Kimberly Cutter received her MFA from the University of Virginia. She was the West Coast Editor for W Magazine for four years. She has written for Harper's Bazaar, W, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, and Marie Claire, where ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Pope Joan

    Try:
    The Maid
    by Kimberly Cutter

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