“Allegra Goodman has written a wonderful coming-of-age story. In Sam, the heights our heroine reaches are not so dizzying, but that she ascends at all is a reason to cheer.” — The Wall Street Journal

Allegra Goodman’s novels include “Sam” (a Read With Jenna Book Club selection), “The Chalk Artist” (winner of the Massachusetts Book Award), “Intuition,” “The Cookbook Collector,” “Paradise Park,” and “Kaaterskill Falls” (a National Book Award finalist). Her fiction has appeared in “The New Yorker,” “Commentary,” and “Ploughshares” and has been anthologized in “The O. Henry Awards” and “Best American Short Stories.” She has written two collections of short stories, The Family Markowitz and Total Immersion and a novel for younger readers, “The Other Side of the Island.” Her essays and reviews have appeared in “The New York Times Book Review,” “The Wall Street Journal,” “The New Republic,” “The Washington Post,” “The Boston Globe,” and “The American Scholar.” Raised in Honolulu, Goodman studied English and philosophy at Harvard and received a PhD in English literature from Stanford. She is the recipient of a Whiting Writer’s Award, the Salon Award for Fiction, and a fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced study. She lives with her family in Cambridge, Mass, where she is writing a new novel.

Allegra's Featured Titles


The Dial Press |
Literary Fiction

“There is a girl, and her name is Sam.” So begins Allegra Goodman’s moving and wise new novel.

Sam is seven years old and living in Beverly, Massachusetts. She adores her father, though he isn’t around much. Her mother struggles to make ends meet, and never fails to remind Sam that if she studies hard and acts responsibly, adulthood will be easier—more secure and comfortable. But comfort and security are of little interest to Sam. She doesn’t fit in at school, where the other girls have the right shade of blue jeans and don’t question the rules. She doesn’t care about jeans or rules. All she wants to climb. Hanging from the highest limbs of the tallest trees, scaling the side of a building, Sam feels free.

As a teenager, Sam begins to doubt herself. She yearns to be noticed, even as she wants to disappear. When her climbing coach takes an interest in her, his attention is more complicated than she anticipated. She resents her father’s erratic behavior, but she grieves after he’s gone. And she resists her mother’s attempts to plan for her future, even as that future draws closer.

The simplicity of this tender, emotionally honest novel is what makes it so powerful. Sam by Allegra Goodman will break your heart, but will also leave you full of hope.

The Chalk Artist

The Dial Press |
Literary Fiction

A tender affair and the redemptive power of art are at the core of this compelling novel from National Book Award finalist Allegra Goodman“a romantic realist who dazzles with wit [and] compassion” (The Wall Street Journal).

Collin James is young, creative, and unhappy. A college dropout, he waits tables and spends his free time beautifying the streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his medium of choice: chalk. Collin’s art captivates passersby with its vibrant colors and intricate lines—until the moment he wipes it all away. Nothing in Collin’s life is meant to last. Then he meets Nina. . . .

The daughter of a tech mogul who is revolutionizing virtual reality, Nina Lazare is trying to give back as a high school teacher—but her students won’t listen to her. When Collin enters her world, he inspires her to think bigger. Nina wants to return the favor—even if it means losing him.

Against this poignant backdrop, Allegra Goodman paints a tableau of students, neighbors, and colleagues: Diana, a teenage girl trying to make herself invisible; her twin brother, Aidan, who’s addicted to the games produced by Nina’s father; and Daphne, a viral-marketing trickster who unites them all, for better or worse.

Wise, warm, and enchanting, The Chalk Artist is both a finely rendered portrait of modern love and a celebration of all the realms we inhabit: real and imagined, visual and virtual, seemingly independent yet hopelessly tangled.

The Family Markowitz

Dial Press Trade Paperback |
Short Stories

NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK • From the author of The Chalk Artist, this beloved collection of linked stories is “one of the most astute and engaging books about American family life to have come our way in quite a while” (The Boston Globe).

In this beloved collection of linked short stories, Allegra Goodman writes with wit and compassion about three generations of Markowitzes: Rose, the displaced, cantankerous matriarch; her devoted son, Henry, an aesthete living abroad; his younger brother, Ed, a Georgetown scholar specializing in terrorism; Ed’s wife, Sarah, a housewife with stalled literary ambitions; and their eldest daughter, Miriam, whose budding Orthodoxy bewilders her parents. Through the rhythm of ordinary family rituals—weddings, holiday dinners, hospital vigils—Goodman breathes extraordinary life into a cast of characters who reverberate with authenticity and never fail to speak their minds.


Becoming a Novelist

I decided to be a novelist when I was seven. This is how I went about it, publishing my first story at 19, my first book at 21. I’ve practiced my art ever since, and devoted my life to learning how to tell a story.


Becoming a Jewish Novelist

I discuss what being a Jewish novelist means to me, how I engage with the rich tradition of Jewish-American fiction, and how I explore Jewish themes in my work overtly and covertly.


A Craft Talk on Writing and Time

When you are writing a novel time is both your enemy and your friend. I provide concrete advice on managing your time, and your book, writing slowly instead of churning out pages, taking breaks, revising, leaning when to stop and when to keep going.

Allegra’s Short Stories Link

Allegra’s News Link

Allegra’s Events Link

Allegra’s Media Room Link

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Visiting Writer at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute for Fall 2023
“New York Times” bestselling author of “Sam,” “The Cookbook Collector,” “Intuition,” and other novels
“Sam” is a Read With Jenna pick
“The Chalk Artist” winner of the Massachusetts Book Award


Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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