May 28, 1959
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Self-described as a 'writer of stories about women,' Meg Wolitzer became a regular fixture on the New York Times Best Seller list with a series of acclaimed novels which explored the various ways in which they negotiate their life choices. Wolitzer first showcased her natural literary flair with 1982 debut Sleepwalking, and subsequently attracted the attention of Hollywood with 1988's This Is Your Life, which was adapted for the big screen by Nora Ephron four years later. Wolitzer continued to explore themes of marriage, gender politics, sex and family in her own fresh and riveting way in the likes of 2003's The Wife, 2005's The Position and 2008's The Ten-Year Nap, while also imparting her words of wisdom as a creative writing lecturer at various university workshops. But it was the 2013 double whammy of a New York Times piece on the lack of equality in the literary world, and the ambitious decades-spanning novel The Interestings that truly established Wolitzer as one of contemporary literature's most authoritative female voices.Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1959 to a writer mother and school psychologist father, Wolitzer attended Smith College, and landed a scholarship at Mademoiselle magazine on the same program her literary idol, Sylvia Plath, had been on twenty years earlier. After transferring to Brown University to study English, she landed a deal worth $5000 to publish her first novel before she had even graduated. Sleepwalking, the tale of three college girls who become obsessed with the works of various late poets including Plath and Anne Sexton, instantly positioned Wolitzer as an expert social observer, as did 1986's finely-nuanced follow-up Hidden Pictures, which focused on the complicated relationship between a children's magazine illustrator, her ex-husband, young son and the woman who awakens her attraction to the same sex.Hollywood then came calling following the release of 1988's This Is Your Life when director Nora Ephron adapted its story of a stand-up comedian struggling to balance her work and family life. Starring Julie Kavner in the lead role, the renamed "This Is My Life" (1992) failed to connect with audiences on its release, and grossed less than three million dollars. However, that didn't deter director Charles McDougall from tackling Wolitzer's fourth novel, 1998's Surrender, Dorothy, for a TV movie featuring Diane Keaton as a grieving mother who returns to the regular haunts of her late daughter, which hit the screens in 2006. Three years earlier, Wolitzer had added to her bibliography with The Wife, a candid dissection of a marriage between one of America's most pre-eminent novelists and his loyal but undervalued spouse, while 2005's compelling The Position focused on how the release of a sex manual affected the lives of its husband-and-wife authors and the rest of their suburban family.A carefully observed character study of four former professionals attempting to re-enter the workplace after a decade of raising their children at home, 2008's The Ten Year Nap proved that few were more adept at exploring the role of women in the post-feminist era better than Wolitzer. Likewise, 2011's The Uncoupling, an insightful parable where the residents of a fictional community are forced to re-evaluate their relationships when a strange spell suddenly turns all women celibate. In the same year, Wolitzer made her first foray into children's literature with the story of five kids who meet at a Scrabble tournament, The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman, before expanding on a similar theme for her 2013 adult-oriented return, The Interestings, a sprawling novel which follows the diverse fortunes of a group of summer camp friends. In 2014, Wolitzer published her first young adult novel, Belzhar, based on a class of emotionally fragile teens who share their experiences with the help of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar.