Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Tama Janowitz is best known for her short-story collection Slaves of New York, the first such collection to become a best-seller since Philip Roth’s Goodby, Columbus earned that distinction in 1959. Of Polish and Hungarian ancestry, Janowitz was the older of two children of Julian Janowitz, a neo-Freudian psychiatrist, and Phyllis Janowitz, a poet and assistant professor at Cornell University. Tama was brought up in a permissive household and showed an early inclination for reading and drawing. When she was five years old, the family moved to Amherst, Massachusetts, and when she was ten, her parents were divorced. Her mother raised Tama and her brother in Israel for a while, then returned to Massachusetts and lived in Amherst, Newton, and Lexington. Young Tama viewed her mother as a poet who lived in another world, and she became her confidante when her mother suffered through the divorce. This close relationship has endured, and Janowitz has said she considers her mother her best friend.
Janowitz graduated from Lexington High School a year ahead of her class in 1973, then attended Barnard College in New York City, where she received several important awards. Majoring in creative writing, Janowitz received a scholarship to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Elizabeth Janeway Fiction Prize, and the Amy Loveman Prize for Poetry. After graduating with a B.A. degree from Barnard in 1977, she became an assistant art director at a...
(The entire section is 955 words.)
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