Jean Hanff Korelitz

Acclaimed Novelist


"Korelitz is a strong writer...capable of descriptions that are hers alone."
—Washington Post


Jean Hanff Korelitz was raised in New York City and graduated from Dartmouth College and Clare College, Cambridge. She is the author of the novels A Jury of Her Peers (1996); The Sabbathday River (1999); The White Rose (2005); and Admission (2009), as well as a children’s novel, Interference Powder (2003); and a book of poems, The Properties of Breath (1988). Admission was made into a film starring Tina Fey. Her newest novel, You Should Have Known (2014), was on CNN's Books to Watch for in 2014.

Korelitz has contributed articles and essays to many magazines, including Vogue, Real Simple, Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, More, and Travel and Leisure (Family), and the anthologies Modern Love and Because I Said So. She lives in New York with her husband, Princeton Professor Paul Muldoon and their children, and works full time as a writer and part time as a chauffeur (i.e. mom).

In 2006 and 2007 she worked for Princeton's Office of Admission as an outside reader.

Jean Hanff Korelitz is the author of the novels A Jury of Her PeersThe Sabbathday RiverThe White Rose; and Admission, as well as a children’s novel, Interference Powder; and a book of poems, The Properties of BreathAdmission was made into a film starring Tina Fey. Her newest novel, You Should Have Known, was on CNN's Books to Watch for in 2014. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Real Simple, Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, More, and Travel and Leisure (Family), and the anthologies Modern Love and Because I Said So

Tribute Books Mama Interview

Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. Devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice, her days are full of familiar things: she lives in the very New York apartment in which she was raised, and sends Henry to the school she herself once attended. Dismayed by the ways in which women delude themselves, Grace is also the author of a book You Already Know, in which she cautions women to really hear what men are trying to tell them. But weeks before the book is published a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only an ongoing chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster, and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.

About ADMISSION (2009)

“Admissions. Admission. Aren’t there two sides to the word? And two opposing sides…It’s what we let in, but it’s also what we let out.” —excerpt

For years, 38-year-old Portia Nathan has avoided the past, hiding behind her busy (and sometimes punishing) career as a Princeton University admissions officer and her dependable domestic life. Her reluctance to confront the truth is suddenly overwhelmed by the resurfacing of a life-altering decision, and Portia is faced with an extraordinary test. Just as thousands of the nation’s brightest students await her decision regarding their academic admission, so too must Portia decide whether to make her own ultimate admission.
Admission is at once a fascinating look at the complex college admissions process and an emotional examination of what happens when the secrets of the past return and shake a woman’s life to its core.

About THE WHITE ROSE (2005)
Korelitz, known for her intelligent thrillers (The Sabbathday River, etc.), strikes off in a new direction with this mordant story of aging, love, and self-discovery, a reimagining of the Strauss opera Der Rosenkavalier set in upper-class Jewish New York City. Marian Kahn, gracefully aging at 48, is a respected history professor at Columbia, author of a bestselling book of popular history and solidly ensconced in a satisfactory if not brilliant marriage, when suddenly she's swept away by the wild but dangerous joy of an affair with the son of her oldest friend. Twenty-six-year-old Oliver, owner of a flower shop called the White Rose, is truly in love, but when he meets graduate student and heiress Sophie Klein, the fiancée of Marian's pompous cousin, Barton Ochstein, he's blindsided and must question his still strong love for Marian. Sophie is swept away, too, by the knowledge that she may want something more out of life than the academic satisfaction she derives from the study of her own White Rose, a group of German dissidents who agitated against the Nazis. The belief that love always involves sacrifice and is worth the sacrifice it demands drives this warm, worldly novel. Even when their own comfort is at stake, Korelitz's characters succumb to generous impulses, making this a satisfying, emotionally rich read.
—Publisher's Weekly

Jean Hanff Korelitz website