Rachel Kadish

Novelist
National Jewish Book Award
Travels from: Boston, MA

“A gifted writer, astonishingly adept at nuance, narration, and the politics of passion.”—Toni Morrison

Rachel Kadish is the award-winning author of the novels From a Sealed Room and Tolstoy Lied: a Love Story, as well as the novella I Was Here. Her work has appeared on NPR and in the New York Times, Ploughshares, and Tin House, and has been anthologized in the Pushcart Prize Anthology and elsewhere.

Her most recent novel, The Weight of Ink, was the winner of the 2017 National Jewish Book Award and the 2018 Julia Ward Howe Prize for Fiction. Set in London in the mid-17th century and the early 21st century, this powerful novel is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an immigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history. Toni Morrison calls Kadish, “A gifted writer, astonishingly adept at nuance, narration, and the politics of passion.”

She has been a fiction fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, has received the National Jewish Book Award, the Association of Jewish Libraries Fiction Award, and the John Gardner Fiction Award, and was the Koret Writer-in-Residence at Stanford University. She lives outside Boston and teaches in Lesley University’s MFA Program in Creative Writing.

Prepare an Invitation for:

The Weight of Ink

Mariner Books |
Novel

WINNER OF A NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD
A USA TODAY BESTSELLER

“A gifted writer, astonishingly adept at nuance, narration, and the politics of passion.”—Toni Morrison

Set in London of the 1660s and of the early twenty-first century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history.

When Helen is summoned by a former student to view a cache of newly discovered seventeenth-century Jewish documents, she enlists the help of Aaron Levy, an American graduate student as impatient as he is charming, and embarks on one last project: to determine the identity of the documents’ scribe, the elusive “Aleph.”

Electrifying and ambitious, The Weight of Ink is about women separated by centuries—and the choices and sacrifices they must make in order to reconcile the life of the heart and mind.

Tolstoy Lied: A Love Story

Mariner Books |
Novel

Tolstoy famously wrote, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” To Tracy Farber, thirty-three, happily single, headed for tenure at a major university, and content to build a life around friends and work, this celebrated maxim is questionable at best. Because if Tolstoy is to be taken at his word, only unhappiness is interesting; happiness must be as placid and unmemorable as a daisy in a field of a thousand daisies.

Having decided to reject the petty indignities of dating, Tracy focuses instead on her secret project: to determine whether happiness can be interesting, in literature and in life, or whether it can be—must be—a plant with thorns and gnarled roots. It’s an unfashionable proposition, and a potential threat to her job security. But Tracy is her own best example of a happy and interesting life. Little does she know, however, that her best proof will come when she falls for George, who will challenge all of her old assumptions, as love proves to be even more complicated than she had imagined. Can this young feminist scholar, who posits that “a woman’s independence is a hothouse flower—improbable, rare, requiring vigilance,” find happiness in a way that fulfills both her head and her heart?

Love may be the ultimate cliché, but in Rachel Kadish’s hands, it is also a morally serious question, deserving of our sober attention as well as our delighted laughter.

From A Sealed Room

Mariner Books |
Novel

In this affecting, perceptive novel, Rachel Kadish reflects on the ghosts of the past, the tensions of war, and the difficult bonds of family. When Maya enrolls at Hebrew University in Jerusalem shortly after the Gulf War, she hopes to leave New York and a fraught relationship with her mother behind her. In Israel, she gets to know her older cousin Tami, a housewife whose home has a room sealed against the war’s Scud missile attacks. Like Maya, Tami feels distanced from the people closest to her — her mother, her husband, her only son. But it will ultimately be Maya’s visits with Shifra, an elderly recluse and Holocaust survivor who lives in the apartment below her, that give Maya the courage to confront her problems and break free of the burdens of her past.

Why Fiction Matters

Chiune Sugihara's Legacy: The "Japanese Schindler"

Writing the Lives of Forgotten Women

The Life of a Woman Writer - For Real

Telling the Truth in a World that Wants to Twist It

Joint Presentation with Novelist Jessica Shattuck: On Nazis, Family and the Question of Forgiveness

Rachel’s Short Works

Resources for Book Clubs

Honors, Awards & Recognition

National Jewish Book Award Winner
USA Today Bestseller
Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Winner

Media Kit

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

Similar Authors

Novelist
Novelist & Nonfiction Writer
Bestselling Historical Novelist

Interested in hosting this author?
Send us a message and an A|U Agent will return to you ASAP!