nys writers logo

Binnie Kirschenbaum, Photo credit: Stephan BarkerBINNIE KIRSHENBAUM


NYS Writers Institute, April 4, 2002

4:00 p.m. Seminar | Humanities 354
8:00 p.m. Reading | Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

"Not many female novelists can deal with sex, the appetite for it, and the loss of such appetite with as much candor, lack of self-protection, and humor as Binnie Kirschenbaum." - Norman Mailer


Hester Among the RuinsBinnie Kirshenbaum
is the author of four novels and two short story collections that explore the comic complexitites of sex, adultery and friendship. Carlin Romano of The Philadelphia Inquirer dubs Kirshenbaum, "the younger sister of Philip Roth [and] the lost doppleganger of Erica John."

Kirshenbaum's new novel is Hester Among the Ruins (WW Norton, 2002), the story of the adulerous relationship between a Jewish-American biographer and a dashing German intellectual whose mother once had Nazi sympathies. Publisher's Weekly called the novel, "complete and convincing." Novelist Junot Diaz called the book "a rending meditation on history and culpability, piercing in its tenderness, piercing in its love--a heartstopper."

Pure PoetryKirshenbaum's previous works include the novels Pure Poetry (2000), A Disturbance in One Place (1994), and On Mermaid Avenue (1992), the short story collections History on a Personal Note (1995) and Married Life, and Other True Adventures (1990), and the young adult novel, Short Subject (1989).

Pure Poetry is the story of Lila Moscowitz, a New York City poet who, as she enters middle age, must cope with a sexually unsatisfactory boyfriend, physical longings for her ex-husband, and more neuroses than she can name, let alone manage. Publisher's Weekly called the novel, "a relentlessly sassy tale of a beautiful thirty-four-year-old woman on a quest for love and happiness." A reviewer for Entertainment Weekly said that Kirshenbaum's voice "continues to grow even strongers and more original."

Disturbance in One PlaceKirshenbaum is the recipient of a 1996 Critic's Choice Award for the collection, History on a Personal Note, which Booklist reviewer Donna Seaman praised for its "fiesty voice, gutsy humor, mischievous dispassion, and a gift for setting scenes and conjuring moments of realization. . ." In 1996, Kirshenbaum was also named one of the 52 Best Young American Novelists by Granta magazine. Kirshenbaum currently teaches writing at Columbia University's School of the Arts in New York City.

Additional Link:
Writers Online Magazine Article

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.