You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

Fiction

Fiction, Popular in the United States

The explosion of writing by American Jewish women in the twentieth century has produced not only serious fiction, poetry, essays, and autobiography but also a range of popular literature geared to pleasure reading and light entertainment. Jewish women authors have experimented with many genres: regional novels, sagas, historical novels, romances, mysteries and crime fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and humor.

Edna Ferber

A dedicated writer for more than fifty years, Edna Ferber was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on August 15, 1885. She celebrated America even as she exposed its shortcomings. Her published work includes twelve novels, twelve collections of short stories, two autobiographies, and nine plays—most in collaboration with other playwrights.

Elaine Feinstein

Feinstein is the author of a dozen books of poetry, five biographies, three books of translations of poetry and fourteen novels.

Ruth Fainlight

Ruth Fainlight was born in New York on May 2, 1931, the daughter of a British father and an American mother with Russian-Jewish ancestry. In 1946 she settled in England, where she studied at colleges of art in Birmingham and Brighton. She married the writer Alan Sillitoe in 1959. The couple have one son and one daughter. Although a successful writer of short stories, a dramatist/librettist and translator, she is best known for her poetry, whose modern style blends subtle image-making with toughness of expression.

Sara Riwka B’raz Erlich

If a Jewish author could be selected as representative of the process of amalgamation of cultures in the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:308]Diaspora[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], Sara Riwka Erlich would be the appropriate Brazilian-Jewish woman writer. Born in Brazil of European parents who immigrated to that country, Erlich grew up in the city of Recife, immersed in a combination of Jewish heritage and some areas of non-Jewish life.

Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron has used her refreshing wit, biting sarcasm, and ability to make the mundane entertaining to write her way into the lives of millions. Heeding her mother’s advice that “everything is copy,” Ephron draws upon her own experiences—childhood dreams, anxieties about her flat chest, and her two divorces—in her articles, books, and screenplays.

Elisheva Bichovsky

Elisheva Bichovsky was a Russian poet and author who wrote in Hebrew. Elisheva, as she signed her work, was born Elizaveta Zhirkova in Riazan (Rayzan, 186 km SE of Moscow). Her father Ivan Zharkov, a village teacher who later became a publisher of textbooks, belonged to the Provoslavic Church, while her mother came from an Irish Catholic family whose patriarch had made his way to Russia during the Napoleonic Wars. After her mother died when Elisheva was three years old, she was raised by her mother’s sister in Moscow surrounded by English language and culture. There, she graduated from a girls’ high school and in 1910 trained as a teacher.

Lily Edelman

A preeminent authority on adult education and multiculturalism, Lily Edelman spent her life encouraging others to read and think about people of different cultures and faiths. Through her writings, the reviews and anthologies she edited, and the adult education courses she taught and planned, she challenged individuals to examine both their own religious faith and society. Drawing upon her own heritage, she wrote a popular children’s book, The [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:410]Sukkah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] and the Big Wind (1956) about the Jewish holiday of Sukkoth, and Israel: New People in an Old Land (1958) was based on her many trips to Israel.

Andrea Dworkin

“Every century, there are a handful of writers who help the human race to evolve. Andrea is one of them.” This encomium from Gloria Steinem may, however, be balanced against another comment, by the British critic John Berger, who maintained that Dworkin was “perhaps the worst misrepresented writer in the Western world.” Together, the two statements convey not only Dworkin’s brilliance but also the perhaps predictable antipathy, hostility and even ridicule evoked by the forceful and impassioned attacks on pornography and violence against women for which she became famous—or notorious.

Celia Dropkin

The explicitly sexual imagery and themes of Celia Dropkin’s poems redefined the ways modern Yiddish poetry could depict relationships between women and men. Beautifully crafted lyrics, Dropkin’s poems undo the poetic conventions implicit in their very forms and, with their anger and passion, call into question societal assumptions about love. These poems open up a woman’s psyche in a voice that sounds contemporary in the 1990s. Even her poems about depression, about mother love, and about nature are infused with erotic energy. Best known for her poetry, Dropkin also published short stories and was an accomplished visual artist.

Pages

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Fiction." (Viewed on March 27, 2015) <http://jwa.org/topics/fiction>.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Sign Up for JWA eNews

 

Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs