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Joanna Hershon
Joanna Hershon
Writer and Adjunct Prof in the MFA program at Columbia University, author of 5 novels, many stories and essays
Where else you can find me
Personal website
Book a 1:1 with Joanna

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Talk soon,

Hello and welcome!

On my mind

I love talking about all kinds of writing, analyzing people and why certain places haunt and inspire us. I also love the digressive nature of real human interaction. I just finished a new short story and, after writing a couple of novels that were historical and large in scope, I seem to have narrowed my lens. I'm increasingly drawn to the shifting patterns and rhythms of contemporary life.

Why I'm excited to talk with readers

Conversation animates my life. I'm an extrovert who spends a great deal of time alone, and getting the chance to speak with readers and writers at any stage of their process is genuinely one of my greatest pleasures. I've made some of my deepest connections while talking about books and also about the mysterious process of writing fiction. I've also become a writer of personal essays, and I'm interested in the process of knowing how material finds its best and truest form.

Looking forward to speaking with you,


Let's talk! Open to...👇
Freewheeling conversations
Questions about my writing
Questions about your writing
Writing in general
Getting to know you
How to navigate the emotional process of writing and/or publishing
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My latest
My Substack
Joanna Hershon
Where I've written

St. Ivo

A Novel

Over the course of a weekend, two couples reckon with the long-hidden secrets that have shaped their families, in a charged, poignant novel of motherhood and friendship.

Unwinding like a suspense novel, Joanna Hershon’s St. Ivo is a powerful investigation into the meaning of choice and family, whether we ever know the people closest to us, and how, when someone goes missing from our lives, we can ever let them go.

“In clear, compassionate prose, Hershon conjures characters readers may initially assume they know and then gently and gradually subverts those assumptions, revealing the emotions and difficulties with which these nuanced characters are grappling . . . This graceful story offers insights into family, friendship, and finding a way to move on after a loss.”

― Kirkus, starred review

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A Dual Inheritance

A Novel

Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1963: two students meet one autumn evening during their senior year at Harvard–Ed, a Jewish kid on scholarship, and Hugh, a Boston Brahmin with the world at his feet. Ed is unapologetically ambitious and girl-crazy, while Hugh is ambivalent about everything aside from his dedicated pining for the one girl he’s ever loved.  An immediate, intense friendship is sparked that night, which ends just as abruptly, several years later, although only one of them understands why.

A Dual Inheritance is the most accomplished novel of Hershon’s career; Delving deep into the lives of two generations, against backdrops as diverse as Dar es Salaam, Boston, Shenzhen and Fishers Island, this keenly perceptive novel about passion, betrayal, class and friendship will leave readers entranced, and questioning these characters’ lives and choices long after the last page is turned.

“The title of Joanna Hershon’s absorbing new novel, A Dual Inheritance, announces its fascination with binary oppositions that are at the same time complementary pairs….Hershon has several tricks up her sleeve.”

— Adam Kirsch for Tablet

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The German Bride

A Novel

Berlin, 1861. Eva Frank, a sixteen-year-old Jewess, has her portrait painted, which leads to an indiscretion that has devastating consequences. Desperate to escape a painful situation, Eva marries Abraham Shein, an ambitious merchant who has returned home to Germany for the first time in a decade since establishing himself in the American West. The young bride leaves Berlin and its ghosts for an unfamiliar life halfway across the world, traversing the icy waters of the Atlantic and the rugged, sweeping terrain of the Santa Fe Trail.

Though Eva’s existence in the rough and burgeoning community of Sante Fe, New Mexico, is a far cry from her life as a daughter of privilege, she soon begins to settle into the mystifying town. But this new setting cannot keep at bay the overwhelming memories of her former life, nor can it protect her from an increasing threat to her own safety that will force Eva to make a fateful decision.

To the many expressions of this threshold experience in American immigration literature, by authors from Anzia Yereskia to Jhumpa Lahiri, Hershon adds an eloquent voice.

The Washington Post

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