The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Alice Hoffman

b. March 16, 1952

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Alice Hoffman until we are able to commission a full entry.

Alice Hoffman spent years crafting novels that explored relationships and magical realism before the “overnight” success of 1995’s Practical Magic catapulted her to success. Hoffman graduated from Adelphi University before earning an MA in creative writing from Stanford University in 1974. At age 21, while at Stanford, she published her first short story, “At the Drive In,” in Fiction, and began writing her first novel, Property Of, which was published in 1977. Since then she has written at least one book every year, as well as the screenplay for the 1983 film Independence Day, about a woman artist trapped in a provincial town. The success of Practical Magic, which was turned into a 1998 movie with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, made Hoffman a household name. Several of her novels delve into events in Jewish history, including 2006’s Incantation, a YA novel about the Spanish Inquisition, 2011’s The Dovekeepers, about the siege at Masada, and 2015’s The Marriage of Opposites, about the forbidden love of the artist Pissarro’s parents. After surviving breast cancer, Hoffman donated the advance of her 1999 novel Local Girls to fund the Hoffman Breast Center at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Alice Hoffman." (Viewed on December 3, 2023) <>.


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