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. Which living person do you most admire?

A. I'm afraid I don't quite think in those terms, so I can't really answer that question. I admire certain things about certain people.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?

A. I have an overhealthy interest in film, which I blame on my father, who took me to the movies twice a week, starting at about age three. Thus, I've always fantasized about actually making--writing and directing--films. But I'm not quite sure I have the personality necessary to navigate Hollywood.

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’s your greatest fear?

A. I have a terrible dread of snakes.