Alice Hoffman biography

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Alice Hoffman
Photo: Deborah Feingold

Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman Biography

Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and '74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston.

Hoffman's first novel, Property Of, was written at the age of twenty-one, while she was studying at Stanford, and published shortly thereafter by Farrar Straus and Giroux. She credits her mentor, professor and writer Albert J. Guerard, and his wife, the writer Maclin Bocock Guerard, for helping her to publish her first short story in the magazine Fiction. Editor Ted Solotaroff then contacted her to ask if she had a novel, at which point she quickly began to write what was to become Property Of, a section of which was published in Mr. Solotaroff's magazine, American Review.

Since that remarkable beginning, Alice Hoffman has become one of our most distinguished novelists. She has published over thirty novels, three books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults. Her novel, Here on Earth, an Oprah Book Club choice, was a modern reworking of some of the themes of Emily Bronte's masterpiece Wuthering Heights. Practical Magic was made into a Warner film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Her novel, At Risk, which concerns a family dealing with AIDS, can be found on the reading lists of many universities, colleges and secondary schools. Hoffman's advance from Local Girls, a collection of inter-related fictions about love and loss on Long Island, was donated to help create the Hoffman Breast Center at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA. Hoffman has written a number of novels for young adults, including Aquamarine, Green Angel, and the New York Time bestseller The Ice Queen. In 2007 Little Brown published the teen novel Incantation, a story about hidden Jews during the Spanish Inquisition, which Publishers Weekly has chosen as one of the best books of the year.

The Dovekeepers, the story of the survivors of Masada is considered by many to be Hoffman's masterpiece. The New York Times bestselling novel was adapted for television in a 2015 miniseries, produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, starring Cote de Pablo of NCIS fame.

Her most recent novels have received many accolades, and are New York Times bestsellers. They include The Museum of Extraordinary Things, The Marriage of Opposites, and Faithful. Her newest novel, The Rules of Magic, is the prequel to her cult-classic Practical Magic. It was selected as a LibraryReads and IndieNext List Pick for October 2017 and is one of the Most Anticipated Books on iTunes. Reese Witherspoon picked it as her October 2017 Book Club read, remarking that the "story is full of magic, love, family, heartbreak and redemption." Set in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, The Rules of Magic is a timeless story that reminds us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.

Alice Hoffman's website

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Interview

Alice Hoffman talks about four of her books: The World That We Knew (2019), The Marriage of Opposites (2015) and The Dovekeepers (2012), and her 2005 collection, Blackbird House.

The World That We Knew

The World That We Knew is being called another Alice Hoffman masterpiece. What was the evolution of this novel?

Years ago I met a woman in Florida who asked me if I would write her life story. She had been a hidden child in France during the Holocaust, sent to a convent by her parents in an attempt to rescue her. She felt that if the story of the hidden children wasn't told, it would be forgotten. I thought about what she had said for a very long time, and in 2016 I began to write The World That We Knew.

Discuss how you used magic to reach the emotional heart of such a cruel time in history.

So many novels have been written about the Holocaust that I felt I wanted to tell a story from a different point of view. I approached this time of destruction as a dark fairy tale. It was a time when nothing made sense, and although I most often write to make sense of things, doing so was impossible given the circumstances. As a friend who is a historian wrote, "History is luck." Who gets on a train and who doesn't can change everything. We can control our choices and our reactions, but we can't control fate. I was most interested in writing about the emotional lives of the characters, how they dealt with grief and sorrow...

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Books by this Author

Books by Alice Hoffman at BookBrowse
The World That We Knew jacket The Rules of Magic jacket The Marriage of Opposites jacket Survival Lessons jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Alice Hoffman 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.
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  • Anita Amirrezvani

    Anita Amirrezvani

    Anita Amirrezvani was born in Tehran, Iran, and raised in San Francisco. For ten years, she was a dance critic for newspapers in the Bay Area. She has received fellowships from the National Arts Journalism Program, the NEA's ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Dovekeepers

    Try:
    The Blood of Flowers
    by Anita Amirrezvani

  • Elizabeth Berg

    Elizabeth Berg

    Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including Open House (an Oprah's Book Club selection), Talk Before Sleep, and The Year of Pleasures, as well as the short story collection The Day I Ate Whatever I... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Ice Queen

    Try:
    The Year of Pleasures
    by Elizabeth Berg

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