Lynne Sharon Schwartz

GOOD NEWS FOR FANS OF DISTURBANCES IN THE FIELD: The novel is now available as an audiobook from audible.com.

EXCITING AUDIO NEWS
Lynne and her husband, Harry, are the co-directors of a new audio project, Calliope Author Readings. Recordings of great American authors reading brief excerpts from their works are now available through their website, Calliopeauthorreadings.com. Writers include James Baldwin, Bernard Malamud, John Updike, Philip Roth, and others. A great opportunity to hear these writers' own interpretations of their works. The recordings were first made 50 years ago! And now they'll be available to a brand-new audience. Check out presentation of readings under Events.

Check NPR.org under Morning Edition, Susan Stamberg, to hear NPR's 3/​7/​14 interview with Lynne and Harry about how they began and revived Calliope Author Readings. Hear excerpts from Baldwin, Updike, and Roth, in their youth.

Lynne's poem, "Cement Backyard," from her recent collection, See You in the Dark, was chosen by former Poet Laureate Ted Kooser for the American Life in Poetry Series. Poems are widely syndicated in newspapers and read by 3 million readers around the world. Click on link above to read.

Lynne's latest novel, Two-Part Inventions, is the absorbing story of a classical pianist's checkered career. See description under Works.


NEW POETRY!
See You in the Dark, Lynne Schwartz's second collection of poetry, available now from Northwestern University Press.

Biography

Lynne's newest book is a collection of essays, This Is Where We Came In, just out from Counterpoint. Ranging from a darkly comic account of heart surgery, to African drum classes, to a wrenching account of childhood cruelty, these essays offer intimate glimpses into a much examined life.

Lynne Sharon Schwartz began writing at the age of seven, in her native Brooklyn, New York, and has been writing ever since. But she didn’t begin taking herself seriously as a writer until she was in her early thirties. Up until then she was occupied with attending Barnard College and graduate school at New York University, getting married, having two children, spending a year living in Rome, holding down editorial jobs and working at a fair housing program during the civil rights movement—though not necessarily in that order.

Finally she realized that if she was to fulfill her childhood dream of becoming a writer she had better send her work out into the world. So she dropped out of graduate school before completing her thesis, to devote herself to writing. She had always wanted to write in many genres, and has now published 19 books, including fiction, nonfiction, essays, poetry and translation. In the introduction to A Lynne Sharon Schwartz Reader, she writes, "I began writing... before I knew about the strictures of literary genres: poem, story, essay... What I wrote was... partaking of all the genres and bounded by none."

Ms. Schwartz began publishing her stories in the 1970’s; the first work that brought her wide attention was a Watergate satire published in The New Republic, called “The Tapes As Theater.”

Her first novel, Rough Strife, about the vicissitudes of a long marriage, was published in 1980 and was nominated for a National Book Award. In 1981, Balancing Acts, a novel about the friendship between an aging circus performer and an adolescent girl, appeared, and in 1983, the novel Disturbances in the Field, about a family tragedy, brought her critical acclaim. Two short story collections also appeared in the 1980’s, Acquainted With the Night and The Melting Pot and Other Subversive Stories. In 1985, after she lost her home in a fire in her apartment building owned by Columbia University, she wrote We Are Talking About Homes: A Great University Against Its Neighbors, a nonfiction book about Columbia’s housing policies as well as the effect of the fire on the families in the building.

Leaving Brooklyn, a coming-of-age novel laced with the quest for erotic and worldly knowledge, appeared in 1989 and was nominated for the PEN/​Faulkner Award for Fiction. It was succeeded by the novel The Fatigue Artist in 1995, and Ruined by Reading in 1996, a memoir subtitled “A Life in Books.” Her 1999 novel, In the Family Way: An Urban Comedy, is a droll look at contemporary domestic and sexual arrangements, set in a New York City apartment building. The collection of essays, Face to Face, came out in 2000, and the poetry collection, In Solitary, in 2002.

Her third collection of stories, Referred Pain, appeared in 2004. The Writing on the Wall (2005), is set in New York City in the weeks following the September 11 attacks. It explores their impact on individual lives, as well as the inadequacy of the public language used in its wake by the government and the media. Her latest novel, Two-Part Inventions (2012) tells a story of ambition and deception set in the world of classical music; the protagonist is a pianist and her story is based on actual events in the life of a British pianist.

Ms. Schwartz is also a translator from Italian. Her translations include A Place to Live and Other Selected Essays by Natalia Ginzburg, and Smoke Over Birkenau, by Liana Millu, a memoir of a survivor of Birkenau.

Lynne Sharon Schwartz’s reviews and criticism have appeared in many leading magazines and papers. She has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Foundation for the Arts, and has taught in many writing programs here and abroad. She is presently on the faculty of the Bennington Writing Seminars.

Selected Works

Poetry
A second collection that goes beyond the first in its range of emotion, form, and content. Critics call See You in the Dark "a delightful repository of sly and wise poems."
Memoir
Part memoir, part exploration of the idea of travel, this peripatetic book asks what travelers are seeking, what they are fleeing, and what they find. A contrarian view, both serious and whimsical.
A memoir that explores what the habit of reading means and how it can shape a life.
Anthology
Selection of interviews with and essays on the late writer, W.G. Sebald
Novel
A precocious adolescent finds unusual ways to escape Brooklyn conformity and explore the wider world.
A rich tapestry of tragic loss and the complicated struggle to find a path through darkness.
"The first fiction to weave the shock of 9/11 into ordinary lives... Worth a thousand pictures."
--Dan Wakefield
"Schwartz takes deadly aim at contemporary mores in this hilarious comedy of manners." Chicago Tribune
Short stories
"No one reads us better than Lynne Sharon Schwartz. Her precise, unflinching stories discover meaning in our pain." Frederick Busch
Children's book
This classic children's book retells the Passover story. With beautiful original paintings by Ori Sherman.

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