Erica Jong—novelist, poet, and essayist—has consistently used her craft to help provide women with a powerful and rational voice in forging a feminist consciousness. She has published 21 books, including eight novels, six volumes of poetry, six books of non-fiction and numerous articles in magazines and newspapers such as the New York Times, the Sunday Times of London, Elle, Vogue, and the New York Times Book Review.
In her groundbreaking first novel, Fear of Flying (which has sold twenty-six million copies in more than forty languages), she introduced Isadora Wing, who also plays a central part in three subsequent novels—How to Save Your Own Life, Parachutes and Kisses, and Any Woman's Blues. In her three historical novels—Fanny, Shylock's Daughter, and Sappho's Leap—she demonstrates her mastery of eighteenth-century British literature, the verses of Shakespeare, and ancient Greek lyric, respectively. A memoir of her life as a writer, Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life, came out in March 2006. It was a national bestseller in the US and many other countries. Erica’s latest book, Sugar in My Bowl, is an anthology of women writing about sex, has been recently released in paperback.
Erica Jong was honored with the United Nations Award for Excellence in Literature. She has also received Poetry magazine's Bess Hokin Prize, also won by W.S. Merwin and Sylvia Plath. In France, she received the Deauville Award for Literary Excellence and in Italy, she received the Sigmund Freud Award for Literature. The City University of New York awarded Ms. Jong an honorary PhD at the College of Staten Island.
Her works have appeared all over the world and are as popular in Eastern Europe, Japan, China, and other Asian countries as they have been in the United States and Western Europe. She has lectured, taught and read her work all over the world.
A graduate of Barnard College and Columbia University's Graduate Faculties where she received her M.A. in 18th Century English Literature, Erica Jong also attended Columbia's graduate writing program where she studied poetry with Stanley Kunitz and Mark Strand. In 2007, continuing her long-standing relationship with the university, a large collection of Erica’s archival material was acquired by Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library, where it will be available to graduate and undergraduate students. Ms. Jong plans to teach master classes at Columbia and also advise the Rare Book Library on the acquisition of other women writers’ archives.
Calling herself “a defrocked academic,” Ms. Jong has partly returned to her roots as a scholar. She has taught at Ben Gurion University in Israel, Bennington College in the US, Breadloaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont and many other distinguished writing programs and universities. She loves to teach and lecture, though her skill in these areas has sometimes crowded her writing projects. “As long as I am communicating the gift of literature, I’m happy,” Jong says. A poet at heart, Ms. Jong believes that words can save the world.
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