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


My Life in 8 Words

Author Revealed

Q. What is your motto or maxim?

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

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 greatest achievement?

A. My novel, A Fortunate Age. But I'm also quite pleased with a few poems I've written over the years. (And, well, do children qualify as an achievement? I have two beautiful ones.)

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?

A. I'm not sure if this qualifies as a talent, but I hate that I don't speak any languages other than English. I'd love to learn French and Spanish, then Hebrew, Arabic, and Japanese.

Q. What do you regret most?

A. I wish that I'd spent more time with my paternal grandmother before she died. She was a brilliant, ferocious woman who had great stories to tell.