Andrew Solomon

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Solomon at the PEN Gala, May 2015

Andrew Solomon (born October 30, 1963) is a writer on politics, culture and psychology, who lives in New York City and London. He has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, Artforum, Travel and Leisure, and other publications on a range of subjects, including depression,[1] Soviet artists,[2] the cultural rebirth of Afghanistan,[3] Libyan politics,[4][5] and deaf politics.[6]

Solomon's book The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression[7] won the 2001 National Book Award,[8] was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize,[9] and was included in The Times list of one hundred best books of the decade.[10] Honors awarded to Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity include the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award,[11] the Media for a Just Society Award of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency,[12] the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award,[13] the Dayton Literary Peace Prize,[14] the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize,[15] and the Wellcome Book Prize.[16]

Solomon is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University Medical Center,[17] and a past President of PEN American Center.[18][19]

Early life and education[edit]


Solomon is the oldest son of Carolyn Bower Solomon and Howard Solomon, former chairman of Forest Laboratories and founder of Hildred Capital Partners;[20] he is brother to David Solomon, also of Hildred Capital Partners.[21] Solomon described the experience of his family's presence at his mother's planned suicide at the end of a long battle with ovarian cancer in an article for The New Yorker;[22] in a fictionalized account in his novel, A Stone Boat; and again in The Noonday Demon. Solomon's subsequent depression, eventually managed with psychotherapy and antidepressant medications, inspired his father to secure FDA approval to market citalopram (Celexa) in the United States.[23]


Solomon was born and raised in Manhattan. He attended the Horace Mann School, graduating cum laude in 1981.[24] He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Yale University in 1985, graduating magna cum laude,[25] and later earned a master's degree in English at Jesus College, Cambridge.[26] In August 2013, he was awarded a Ph.D. in psychology from Jesus College, Cambridge, with a thesis on attachment theory prepared under the supervision of Juliet Mitchell.

Publications and career[edit]

In 1988, Solomon began his study of Russian artists, which culminated with the publication of The Irony Tower: Soviet Artists in a Time of Glasnost (Knopf, 1991). His first novel, A Stone Boat (Faber, 1994), the story of a man's shifting identity as he watches his mother battle cancer, was a runner up for the Los Angeles Times First Fiction prize.[27]

From 1993 to 2001, Solomon was a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine.[1][2][3][6]

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression was originally published in May 2001, and has been translated into twenty-four languages. It was named a Notable Book of 2001 by The New York Times,[28] and was included in the American Library Association's 2002 list of Notable Books.[29] It won the National Book Award for Nonfiction;[8] the Books for a Better Life Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society;[30] the 2002 Ken Book Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City;[31] Mind Book of the Year;[32] the Lambda Literary Award for Autobiography/Memoir;[33] and Quality Paperback Book Club's New Visions Award.

Following publication of The Noonday Demon, Solomon was honored with the Dr Albert J. Solnit Memorial Award from Fellowship Place;[34] the Voice of Mental Health Award from the Jed Foundation and the National Mental Health Association (now Mental Health America);[35] the Prism Award from the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association; the Erasing the Stigma Leadership Award from Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services;[36] the Charles T. Rubey L.O.S.S. Award from the Karla Smith Foundation;[37] and the Silvano Arieti Award from the William Alanson White Institute.[38]

In 2003, Solomon's article, "The Amazing Life of Laura", a profile of diarist Laura Rothenberg, received the Clarion Award for Health Care Journalism, and the Angel of Awareness Award from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.[39] In April 2009, his article, "Cancer & Creativity: One Chef's True Story,"[40] received the Bert Greene Award for Food Journalism by the International Association of Culinary Professionals;[41] the story was also a finalist for the 11th Annual Henry R. Luce Award.[42] Solomon's reminiscence on a friend who committed suicide won the Folio Eddie Gold Award in 2011.[43][44]

In addition to his magazine work, Solomon has written essays for many anthologies and books of criticism, and his work has been featured on National Public Radio's Moth Radio Hour.[45][46]

Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity is about how families accommodate children with physical, mental and social disabilities and differences; it was published in November 2012 in the United States[47] and two months later in the UK (under the title, Far from the Tree: A Dozen Kinds of Love).[48] The writing of the book was supported by residencies at Yaddo,[49] MacDowell Colony,[50] Ucross Foundation,[51] and the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center;[52] at MacDowell, Solomon was the DeWitt Wallace/Reader's Digest Fellow and later the Stanford Calderwood fellow.[53] The book was named one of the 10 best books of 2012 by The New York Times.[54] It won the National Book Critics Circle Award in the Nonfiction category,[11] the Media for a Just Society Award of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency,[12] the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award,[13] the Dayton Literary Peace Prize,[14] the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Books for a Better Life Award,[55] the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize,[15] the Wellcome Book Prize,[16] and the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA) Book of the Year Award for Nonfiction.[56] A young adult edition of Far from the Tree was published in July 2017.[57]

Following publication of Far from the Tree, Solomon was also honored with the Yale Department of Psychiatry's Neuroscience 2013 Research Advocacy Award,[58] the Fountain House Humanitarian Award,[59] the Gray Matters Award from the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry,[60] the University of Michigan's Mike Wallace Award,[61] the Friend and Benefactor Award of the Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership,[62] the National Alliance on Mental Illness Seeds of Hope Award, and the Klerman Award from the Weill-Cornell Medical College Department of Psychiatry.[63]

In Summer of 2014, Solomon was appointed Professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University Medical Center.[17] In 2014, Solomon was awarded the Erikson Institute Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media.[64]

In April 2016, Scribner published Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change, a collection of Solomon's international reporting since 1991;[65] the book has since been reissued with the title, Far and Away: How Travel Can Change the World.[66] The New York Times included Far and Away in its list of 100 Notable Books of 2016.[67]

On November 10, 2017, Far from the Tree, a documentary based on Solomon's book, premiered at the DOC NYC festival.[68] North American rights to the documentary have been acquired by Sundance Selects.[69]

Activism and philanthropy[edit]

Solomon is an activist and philanthropist in LGBT rights, mental health, education and the arts. He is founder of the Solomon Research Fellowships in LGBT Studies at Yale University,[70] a member of the board of directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force[71] and a patron of the Proud2Be Project.[72] His articles on gay marriage have appeared in Newsweek,[73] The Advocate,[74] and Anderson Cooper 360.[75]

Solomon has lectured widely on depression, including at Princeton,[76] Yale,[77] Stanford, Harvard,[78] MIT, Cambridge, and the Library of Congress.[79] He is a Distinguished Associate of the Centre for Family Research at Cambridge University;[80] a director of the University of Michigan Depression Center,[81] Columbia Psychiatry, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory;[82] a member of the Board of Visitors of Columbia Medical School, and the Advisory Boards of the Mental Health Policy Forum at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.[83] In 2011, he was appointed Special Advisor on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Mental Health at the Yale School of Psychiatry.[84] In 2008, Solomon received the Society of Biological Psychiatry's Humanitarian Award for his contributions to the field of mental health,[85] and in 2010, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation's Productive Lives Award.[86]

Solomon's work in the arts and education has included service on the boards of the Alliance for the Arts, the World Monuments Fund,[87] and The Alex Fund, which supports the education of Romani children,[88] He is a member of PEN American Center, and in March 2015, was elected President of that organization.[18] Solomon is a Trustee of the Metropolitan Museum,[89] the Library Council of the New York Public Library,[90] and the corporation of Yaddo.[91] He is also a fellow of Berkeley College at Yale University,[92] and a member of the New York Institute for the Humanities[93] and the Council on Foreign Relations.[94]

Personal life[edit]

As an adult, Solomon became a dual citizen of the United States and the United Kingdom. He and journalist John Habich had a civil partnership ceremony on June 30, 2007, at Althorp, the Spencer family estate and childhood home of Diana, Princess of Wales.[95][96] The couple married again on July 17, 2009, the eighth anniversary of their meeting, in Connecticut, so that their marriage would be legally recognized in the state of New York.[73][97]

In 2003, Solomon and longtime friend Blaine Smith decided to have a child together; their daughter, Carolyn Blaine Smith Solomon, was born in November 2007. Mother and child live in Texas. A son, George Charles Habich Solomon, was born in April 2009, and lives in New York with Solomon and Habich, his adoptive father. Habich is also the biological father of two children, Oliver and Lucy Scher, born to lesbian friends who live in Minneapolis. The development of this composite family was the subject of a feature article by Solomon published in Newsweek in January 2011,[73] and in an April 2012 profile in The Observer.[98]



  • Solomon, Andrew (1991). The irony tower : Soviet artists in a time of glasnost. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
  • — (2001). The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression. Scribner, New York. ISBN 0-684-85466-X.
  • — (2012). Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity. Scribner, New York. ISBN 0-743-23671-8.
  • — (March 17, 2014). "The reckoning : the father of the Sandy Hook killer searches for answers". Annals of Psychology. The New Yorker. 90 (4): 36–45.
  • — (2016). Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change. Scribner, New York. ISBN 9781476795041.


Reviews and criticism of Solomon's work[edit]

TED and TEDx Talks[edit]

Solomon is also a TED speaker. The themes of his TED talks include depression, identity, love, acceptance, and the value of travel.

Year Title Location
2013 Love, no matter what[100] TEDMED 2013 Washington, D.C.
2013 Depression, the secret we share[101] TEDxMet 2013 New York, New York
2014 How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are[102] TED2014 Vancouver, British Columbia
2017 How open borders make us safe[103] TEDxExeter 2017 Exeter, Devon


  1. ^ a b Solomon, Andrew (2001-05-06). "A Cure for Poverty". The New York Times Magazine.
  2. ^ a b Solomon, Andrew (1993-07-28). "Young Russia's Defiant Decadence". The New York Times Magazine.
  3. ^ a b Solomon, Andrew (2002-03-10). "An Awakening From the Nightmare of the Taliban". The New York Times Magazine.
  4. ^ Solomon, Andrew (2006-05-28). "Circle of Fire: Letter from Libya". The New Yorker.
  5. ^ Solomon, Andrew (2011-02-21). "How Qaddafi Lost Libya". The New Yorker.
  6. ^ a b Solomon, Andrew (1994-08-28). "Defiantly Deaf". The New York Times Magazine.
  7. ^ "The Noonday Demon" (book website). Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  8. ^ a b Awards, National Book Foundation, 2001, retrieved 2012-02-20 (With acceptance speech by Solomon.)
  9. ^ The Pulitzer Prizes (2002). "Nominated Finalists". Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  10. ^ "The 100 Best Books of the Decade". The Times. London. 2009-11-14.(subscription required)
  11. ^ a b Hoffer, Barbara (2013-02-28). "National Book Critics Circle Announces Awards for Publishing Year 2012". Critical Mass (press release). Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  12. ^ a b National Council on Crime & Delinquency (2013-06-20). "The Winners of the 20th Annual Media for a Just Society Awards" (press release). Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  13. ^ a b Anisfield-Wolf Book Award (2013-04-22). "Andrew Solomon Wins the 2013 Anisfield-Wolf Prize for Nonfiction" (press release). Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  14. ^ a b Moss, Meredith (2013-09-24). "2013 Dayton Literary Peace Prize winners announced". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  15. ^ a b Charles, Ron (2013-04-18). "Andrew Solomon wins Lukas Book Prize". Washington Post.
  16. ^ a b "Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon wins the Wellcome Book Prize 2014". Wellcome Trust. 2014-04-30.
  17. ^ a b Glasberg, Eve (March 27, 2015). "Literary Lion: 5 Questions with Nonfiction Writer Andrew Solomon". Columbia News. Archived from the original on April 17, 2015.
  18. ^ a b PEN American Center (2015-03-05). "Author Andrew Solomon Assumes Presidency of PEN American Center" (press release).
  19. ^ "Current Board of Trustees (2018-2019)". PEN America. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  20. ^ "Executive Profile: Howard Solomon". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  21. ^ Stahlkrantz, Jennifer Moore (2016-09-01). "That's entertainment: Celebrating the arts and community at home". Town Vibe Bedford.
  22. ^ Solomon, Andrew (1995-05-22). "A Death of One's Own". The New Yorker.
  23. ^ Berfield, Susan (2002-05-27). "A CEO and His Son". Bloomberg Business Week.
  24. ^ Gardner, Beau (2002). "Literature As A High Calling" (PDF). Foundations for Excellence, A Campaign. Horace Mann Alumni. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 4, 2013. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  25. ^ Yale College. "Andrew Solomon" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 28, 2013. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  26. ^ Jesus College. "Annual Report 2011" (PDF). Cambridge, ENG, UK. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 17, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  27. ^ "Book Prizes". Los Angeles Times. 1995-07-24.
  28. ^ "Notable Books". The New York Times. 2001-12-02.
  29. ^ American Library Association Reference and User Services Association. "The 2002 List". Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  30. ^ Colford, Paul D (2002-02-15). "Self-help Books For A Better Life". New York Daily News.
  31. ^ "Annual Report" (PDF). National Alliance on Mental Illness. New York, United States. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 29, 2013. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  32. ^ "Book of the Year Award". MIND. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  33. ^ Gonzalez Cerna, Antonio (2002-07-09). "14th Annual Awards". Lambda Literary. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  34. ^ "Fellowship Place". Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  35. ^ "Harmony for Mental Health Gala Honors Award-Winning Author" (PDF). The Bell. Fall 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 10, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  36. ^ Conway, Ann (2003-05-25). "It's a night dedicated to erasing the stigma". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  37. ^ "Karla Smith Foundation". Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  38. ^ "William Alanson White Institute". Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  39. ^ Solomon, Andrew (July 2003). "The Amazing Life of Laura". Glamour.
  40. ^ Solomon, Andrew (April 2009). "Cancer & Creativity: One Chef's True Story". Food & Wine.
  41. ^ "Bert Greene Awards: Winners". Archived from the original on January 26, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2012.
  42. ^ "Food & Wine Accolades" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 5, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  43. ^ Solomon, Andrew (July–August 2010). "To An Aesthete Dying Young". Yale Alumni Magazine. Archived from the original on February 13, 2012.
  44. ^ "Eddies". Folio Magazine. Red 7 media. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  45. ^ "Stories of the Sacred". The Moth. Fora TV. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  46. ^ "Andrew Solomon: Notes on an Exorcism". The Moth. YouTube. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  47. ^ "Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity". Simon & Schuster. 2012-11-13. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  48. ^ "Far from the Tree: A Dozen Kinds of Love". The Random House Group. 2013-02-07. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  49. ^ Yaddo (2010). "Annual Report 2010" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 14, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  50. ^ MacDowell Colony (Summer 2007). "MacDowell" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 4, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2012.
  51. ^ Ucross Foundation. "Alumni List". Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  52. ^ The Rockefeller Foundation (2009). "Bellagio Center: The First Fifty Years" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 2, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  53. ^ MacDowell Colony (March 2009). "Annual Report for the Year Ending March 2009" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 6, 2011. Retrieved February 10, 2012.
  54. ^ "The 10 Best Books of 2012". The New York Times. 2012-11-30.
  55. ^ "Sheehy, Solomon honored for inspiring readers". Associated Press. 2013-03-11. Retrieved 2013-10-03.[permanent dead link]
  56. ^ New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (August 21, 2013). "NAIBA Book of the Year Awards" (press release). Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  57. ^ Solomon, Andrew (2017-07-25). "Far from the Tree: Young Adult Edition". Scribner. Retrieved 2018-01-02.
  58. ^ "Annual Neuroscience Symposium". Yale School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry. 2013-06-11. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  59. ^ Luce, Jim (2013-05-07). "Fountain House Symposium Honors Author Andrew Solomon". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  60. ^ Terry, Mathews (2013-04-30). "Andrew Solomon's 'Far From The Tree' – Changing the way we view differences, one story at a time". News-Telegram. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  61. ^ "National Advisory Board". University of Michigan Depression Center. 2013-04-12. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  62. ^ Carley, Michael John (March 12, 2013). "Far from the Tree author Andrew Solomon to receive the 2013 GRASP Friend and Benefactor Award". Global & Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  63. ^ "Gerald M. Klerman, M.D., Memorial Lecture". Weill-Cornell Medical College. September 4, 2013. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  64. ^ "Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media | Austen Riggs Center". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  65. ^ Solomon, Andrew (2016-04-01). "Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change". Scribner. Retrieved 2018-01-02.
  66. ^ Solomon, Andrew (2017-05-23). "Far and Away: How Travel Can Change the World". Scribner. Retrieved 2018-01-02.
  67. ^ "100 Notable Books of 2016". The New York Times. 2016-11-23. Retrieved 2018-01-02.
  68. ^ "Centerpiece: Far from the Tree". DOC NYC. 2017-11-10. Retrieved 2018-01-02.
  69. ^ Wyche, Elbert (2017-11-09). "Sundance Selects acquires North American rights to Far from the Tree". Screen Daily. Retrieved 2018-01-02.
  70. ^ "Solomon Research Fellowships in LGBT Studies". Yale University. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  71. ^ "Board of Directors". National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. The Task force. Archived from the original on February 2, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  72. ^ Proud2Be Project (2014-10-14). "Andrew Solomon – New Proud2Be Patron!" (press release).
  73. ^ a b c Solomon, Andrew (2011-01-30). "Meet My Real Modern Family". Newsweek.
  74. ^ Solomon, Andrew (2008-01-15). "A Transcontinental Affair". The Advocate.
  75. ^ Solomon, Andrew (2008-11-13). "The Impact of Prop 8 on My Family". Anderson Cooper 360. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  76. ^ Fossati, Gabe (2001-12-12). "Author Andrew Solomon". Daily Princetonian.
  77. ^ Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry (July 29, 2011). "Resident Grand Rounds". Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  78. ^ Harvard University, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine. "The W.H.R. Rivers Lecture". Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  79. ^ Solomon, Andrew (2006-11-17). "Our Great Depression". The New York Times.
  80. ^ University of Cambridge Centre for Family Research (2017-12-08). "Annual report 2016-2017" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  81. ^ "National Advisory Board". Depression Center. University of Michigan. Archived from the original on April 7, 2012. Retrieved February 10, 2012.
  82. ^ "Leadership". Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Archived from the original on February 4, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  83. ^ Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (2011-12-15). "Press release" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  84. ^ "Yale Psychiatry Department Chair Appoints Special Advisor on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Mental Health". Department of Psychiatry. Yale School of Medicine. 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  85. ^ "Humanitarian Award". Society of Biological Psychiatry. Archived from the original on July 31, 2016. Retrieved February 10, 2012.
  86. ^ "NARSAD Productive Lives Awards". Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. Word press. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  87. ^ World Monuments Fund. "Board of Trustees". Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  88. ^ The Alex Fund. "About Us". Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  89. ^ "Andrew Solomon Elected Trustee at Metropolitan Museum". Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2012-11-13. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  90. ^ New York Public Library. "Annual Report 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  91. ^ Yaddo. "Yaddo Members and Directors". Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  92. ^ Berkeley College, Yale University. "Andrew Solomon" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  93. ^ New York Institute for the Humanities. "Fellows: Andrew Solomon". Archived from the original on April 10, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  94. ^ Council on Foreign Relations. "Membership Roster". Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  95. ^ Pfanner, Eric (2007-07-08). "Vows: Andrew Solomon and John Habich". The New York Times.
  96. ^ Grieg, Geordie (October 2007). "My Big Fab Gay Wedding". Tatler.
  97. ^ Solomon, Andrew (2012-05-12). "A Birthday and Two Weddings". The New Yorker.
  98. ^ Emma, Brockes (2012-04-21). "It's Complicated". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  99. ^ Reviews Far from the tree.
  100. ^ "Love, no matter what". TEDMED 2013. April 2013.
  101. ^ "Depression, the secret we share". TEDxMet 2013. October 2013.
  102. ^ "How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are]". TED2014. March 2014.
  103. ^ "How open borders make us safe<]". TEDxExeter 2017. TEDx Talks. May 2017.

External links[edit]