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Wednesday, April 12, 2023

'It's what I do, every day'


“Whether I'm critically well received, whether or not I sell books - of course it becomes progressively harder to get them published - nevertheless, it's what I do, every day.” – Tama Janowitz


Born on this date in 1957, Janowitz is part of the celebrated “Brat Pack” group of authors – along with Bret Easton Ellis and Jay McInerney – from the 1980s.   A novelist, short story writer, and close friend of artist Andy Warhol, she first gained acclaim through her short story collection Slaves of New York, later adapted into a film starring Bernadette Peters.


Author of 7 novels, that short story collection, and 3 nonfiction books, including a celebrated memoir, she lived in both Manhattan and Brooklyn before settling near Ithaca, NY, where she continues to write and sometimes teach. 


Among her many awards are the graduate fellowship that led to an MFA degree from Columbia, the Alfred Hodder Fellowship in the Humanities at Princeton University, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.   While she’s been chastised for her seeming obsession with money – a focus of many of her works – she says it’s just the part of life she’s chosen for her writings.


Her book, Scream: A Memoir of Glamour and Dysfunction, not only touches on that but also her somewhat “wild child” early life that often put her into the gossip columns and (some say) helped her book sales. But Janowitz has no deep desire to relive those years. “I did not particularly like being semi-famous,” she said.  “I did not write books to be liked.”



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