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Fiction

Penelope’s Feminist Odyssey

Throughout The Odyssey, Penelope, Odysseus' wife, is characterized as constant, virtuous, and patient. She’s seen as the epitome of faithful wifeliness for her refusal to marry a suitor and for her belief that Odysseus will return. Her character is two-dimensional and, for the most part, irrelevant to Odysseus' escapades. 

Shulamith Hareven

From capturing the lingering pain of Holocaust survivors to describing the harsh conditions of Palestinian refugee camps, Shulamith Hareven used her writing to push Israelis to confront uncomfortable truths.

Michal Govrin

As the child of a Holocaust survivor, Michal Govrin has used her writing to open a broader conversation about the enduring legacy of the Holocaust.

Nadine Gordimer

When Nadine Gordimer’s depictions of apartheid earned her the Nobel Prize for Literature, she used her fame to fund HIV prevention and treatment in her native South Africa.

Jewish-American Witches

Despite my positive feelings about them, I was disappointed that Tina and Queenie didn’t acknowledge their Jewishness, that the movie left this part of their identity ambiguous. Sometimes it’s fun as a Jewish viewer to get winks that fictional characters may be members of the tribe. The hints of Judaism in Fantastic Beasts, like Tina’s middle name being Esther and a glimpse of a challah, made me smile. But since having two Jewish women starring in such a global, mainstream fantasy film would be monumental, I wished that Tina and Queenie had claimed their heritage proudly like I do.

Eileen Pollack

Discouraged from a promising career in science, Eileen Pollack published her 2015 memoir The Only Woman in the Room to unravel the many instances of sexism, large and small, which push women like her out of STEM fields.

Amy Gottlieb

In her novel The Beautiful Possible, Amy Gottlieb melds the everyday and the mystic by showing the secret lives and troubled pasts of rabbis, scholars, and their loved ones.

Jennifer Weiner

Fiction writer Jennifer Weiner made headlines when she challenged book critics for dismissing books by women as “chick lit” but reviewing and honoring books by men on the same topics.

Laura Moser

After the 2016 election, journalist Laura Moser created Daily Action to mobilize and coordinate people who wanted to become active in resisting problematic policies of the Trump administration.

Powerful Wives, Then and Now

I did not set out to write a historical or timely novel but I do think The Imperial Wife proved to be both. Ironically, it was only by looking back at eighteenth-century Russia, during the time of the fascinating ruler Catherine the Great, that I was able to think more deeply about the challenges facing contemporary women in America.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Fiction." (Viewed on October 22, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/fiction>.

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