Joanna Smith Rakoff

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Joanna Smith Rakoff has written for The New York Times,Time Out New York, The Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, and other publications. She holds a B.A. from Oberlin College; an M.A. from University College, London; and an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She lives in New York with her husband and son.

Photo Credit: Elena Seibert

Books by this Author

A Fortunate Age

Video

My Life in 8 Words

Author Revealed

Q. What is your motto or maxim?

A. I'm afraid I don't have one.

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?

A. Honesty. Humor. Introspection and intellectual rigor.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?

A. This is too difficult. I love the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, in Sense and Sensibility, and Gwendolen Harleth from Daniel Deronda. Irene Heron from The Forsyte Saga. And, of course, Jane Eyre.

Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?

A. Again, my mind doesn't quite work in this early-Caryl-Churchill-Tom-Stoppard-play sort of way, so this is hard for me to answer. But I'd love to meet favorite writers--Austen, Dickens,Eliot--and talk to them about their lives, their writing, the intersection between the two.

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?

A. I really hate the unnecessary use of quotation marks. As in, menus that offer "roast" chicken. Why, why?

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