Cynthia Ozick

Cynthia Ozick won high acclaim for her novels and short stories depicting the Jewish American experience and for her memorable, nuanced female characters. Ozick studied at a boy’s heder, gaining an early love of Yiddish and of Jewish culture that would infuse her work. She then went on to Hunter College, NYU, and Ohio State University, discovering a passion for western literature, particularly Henry James, whose writing would deeply influence her own. Her first published novel, Trust, appeared in 1966, followed by five more novels, fourteen collections of short stories and essays, and two plays, one of which was an adaptation of her widely acclaimed story of the Holocaust, “The Shawl.” Over the course of her career, she won many of the highest honors in the field for her powerful and challenging prose: three O. Henry prizes, fellowships from Guggenheim and the National Endowment for the Arts, two PEN awards, and a National Book Critics Circle Award.


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"I wanted to use what I was, to be what I was born to be—not to have a 'career,' but to be that straightforward obvious unmistakable animal, a writer," Cynthia Ozick once said. She has certainly achieved her goal. The winner of numerous literary awards, Cynthia Ozick is a writer par excellence, author of essays, plays, short stories and novels.

Institution: The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, OH, and Gerard Murrell.

Date of Birth

New York, NY
United States

Writer, Playwright

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Cynthia Ozick." (Viewed on October 17, 2019) <>.


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