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Susan Cheever at home in New York City (photo Brad Trent)

My Twenty Favorite Books

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen
A book suffused with longing for the lost world of adulthood.

Father and Son by Edmund Gosse
A model for writing about a parent.

Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabakov
A book suffused with longing for the lost world of childhood.

In Pharoah's Army by Tobias Wolff
Elegant and electrifying book about the war in Vietnam and the war in our hearts.

A Drinking Life by Pete Hammill
Another kind of history of New York.

The Liar's Club by Mary Karr
Amazing stories that never would have been told before memoir became a popular form.

Fierce Attachments by Vivian Gornick
A daughter writes about her mother with grace and wit.

Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
A beautiful meditation on the nature of physical beauty.

This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff
A son writes about his mother with grace and wit.

Art and Ardor by Cynthia Ozick
Everything she writes is brilliant.

An American Childhood by Annie Dillard
The title says it all.

The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams
The gold standard.

Duke of Deception by Geoffrey Wolff
A son writes about his father with grace and wit.

Growing Up by Russell Baker
A gentleman's memoir.

The Shadow Man by Mary Gordon
A daughter writes about her father with grace and wit.

Salvation on Sand Mountain by Denis Covington
One of the best memoirs ever written.

Self-Consciousness by John Updike
Grace and wit personified.

Haywire by Brooke Hayward
A daughter writes about her family.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
All politics are autobiographical; this great book is an example.

"A distinguished biographer and cultural historian offers a fascinating look at the place and function of alcohol throughout American history." --Kirkus Reviews

Curriculum Vitae



Looking for Work, 1980 (Simon & Schuster)
A Handsome Man, 1981 (Simon & Schuster)
The Cage, 1982 (Houghton Mifflin)
Doctors & Women, 1987 (Clarkson N. Potter)
Elizabeth Cole, 1989 (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)


Home Before Dark: A Biographical Memoir of John Cheever, l984 (Houghton Mifflin)
Treetops: A Family Memoir. l991 (Bantam)
A Woman's Life: The Story of an Extraordinary Generation. l994 (William Morrow)
Note Found in a Bottle: My Life As a Drinker. l999 (Simon & Schuster)
As Good As I Could Be: A Memoir of Raising Wonderful Children in Difficult Times. 2001
My Name Is Bill. Bill Wilson: His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous. 2004
American Bloomsbury: The Lives of Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry David Thoreau in Concord Massachusetts from 1840 to 1868. 2006 (Simon & Schuster)
Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction. 2008 (Simon & Schuster)
Louisa May Alcott: A Personal Biography 2010 (Simon & Schuster)
E.E. Cummings: A Life 2013 (Pantheon)


I have written essays, book reviews and articles regularly for many publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times, Talk Magazine and The Washington Post. From 1992-2006 I wrote a column for Newsday on subjects from parenting to politics. From 1974-1978 I was a writer at Newsweek. From 1969 to 1972 I was reporter for the Westchester Rockland Newspapers.


1966-1970. High School. English: The Colorado Rocky Mountain School in
Carbondale, Colorado and The Scarborough School in Scarborough, New York.
1995 Hunter College.
1994-96 Marymount Manhattan.
1999 Yale University.
1995-the present, Professor Bennington College M.F.A. Program.
2004-the present, Professor the New School M.F.A. program.


Brown University B.A. in American Literature. Studies at Harvard College and New York University. National Book Critic's Circle Award nominee, Boston Globe's Winship Medal winner, Associated Press award winner, part of a Pulitzer Prize winning team at Newsday, New York Public Library Literary Lion, Guggenheim fellow, a member of the Authors Guild Council and a member of the Board of the Yaddo Corporation.

Selected Works

"She's put together a smart and readable portrait of this artist as a seemingly perpetual young man whose adult years were filled with personal despair, jumbled politics, a mix of anti-Communism, polite anti-Semitism and American self-actualization as well as family heartbreak." --Alan Cheuse on NPR
"As a biography of one of the most humane and beneficial Americans who ever lived, it is a national treasure."
--Kurt Vonnegut
Literary History
"A short, steamy read."
--New York Post
Raising wonderful children in a difficult world
A poignant memoir of a man driven by boundless genius and ambition.
"Engrossing and remarkably devoid of self-flagellation."
--Seattle Weekly
"Ms. Cheever's. . . coolly intelligent perspective. . . provides a clear, hard-edged picture of the snobbery, sexism, anti-Semitism adultery, alcoholism, and emotional dishonesty that were part and parcel of those swimming pools and tennis courts."
--Wall Street Journal
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1989
Clarkson N. Potter, 1987
Houghton Mifflin, 1982. Paperback: Random House, 1983.
Simon & Schuster, 1981. Paperback: Ballantine Group: 1982.
Simon & Schuster, 1980. Paperback: Fawcett, 1982.