Shapiro at the 2018 Texas Book Festival
April 10, 1962
New York City, United States
Dani Shapiro is an American writer, the author of five novels including Family History (2003) and Black & White (2007) and the best-selling memoirs Slow Motion (1998), Devotion (2010), Hourglass (2017), and Inheritance (2019). She has also written for magazines such as The New Yorker, The Oprah Magazine, Vogue, and Elle. In February 2019, she created an original podcast on iHeart Radio called Family Secrets. In April 2020, she launched her second original podcast on the same platforms called The Way We Live Now, which includes daily episodes rather than the weekly format of Family Secrets. The new podcast addresses the societal and personal changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic stay-at-home orders and their subsequent isolation.
Early life and education
Shapiro was born Daneile Shapiro on April 10, 1962 In New York City. She is the daughter of Paul Shapiro, from an Orthodox Jewish family (who, she later learned through a recreational DNA test, was not her biological father), and Irene Shapiro, from South Jersey. Shapiro attended a Solomon Schechter Jewish day school through 6th grade, after which she attended the Pingry School in New Jersey. She attended Sarah Lawrence College, where she was taught by Grace Paley.
Shapiro's novels include Playing with Fire, Fugitive Blue, Picturing the Wreck, Black & White, and Family History. Her best-selling memoirs include Slow Motion, Devotion, Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life, Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage, and most recently, Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love.
In Inheritance, Shapiro writes about her experience of learning through a recreational DNA test that her biological father was not Paul Shapiro; rather, she had been conceived by the primitive practice of mixing Paul's sperm with that of an anonymous donor, whom she later was able to identify. Inheritance debuted at #11 on the New York Times Best Seller list and Ruth Franklin called it "beautifully written and deeply moving." The San Francisco Chronicle described Inheritance as "as compulsively readable as a mystery novel, while exploring the deeper mysteries of identity and family and truth itself… a story told with great insight and honesty and heart." And Pulitzer Prize winning author Jennifer Egan wrote that “Inheritance is Dani Shapiro at her best: a gripping genetic detective story, and a meditation on the meaning of parenthood and family.” The memoir was included on several best-of-the-year lists, including that of Vanity Fair, Oprah Magazine, Lit Hub and Wired.
In addition to The New Yorker, The Oprah Magazine, Vogue, and Elle, Shapiro's writing has also appeared in Salon, and n+1, among others. Shapiro has also written for the screen; in 1999, she adapted Oscar Wilde's The Happy Prince for HBO and in 2000, she co-wrote a screenplay based on her memoir, Slow Motion, with her husband, journalist and screenwriter Michael Maren.
Dani has taught writing classes and workshops at NYU, Wesleyan University and Columbia University as well Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, 1440 Multiversity, and Fine Arts Work Center. On March 31, 2020, she launched her first digital course, "Writing for Inner Calm: Methods & Exercises", on the Skillshare online learning platform.
In collaboration with iHeart Radio, Shapiro launched the original podcast Family Secrets in 2019. Each episode of this iTunes Top 10 podcast features a conversation between Dani and a guest who's experienced a family secret and its effects. The podcast’s third season premiered on February 6, 2020.
Shapiro has been married since 1997 to screenwriter Michael Maren, and they have a son, Jacob. In the early 2000s, Dani and her family moved from Brooklyn, NY to Litchfield County, Connecticut.
- Playing with Fire Doubleday Publishing Group, 1990, ISBN 9780385267229
- Fugitive Blue Nan A. Talese, 1992, ISBN 978-0385421072
- Picturing the Wreck Doubleday, 1995, ISBN 978-0385472630
- Slow Motion: A True Story Random House, 1998 ISBN 978-0-307-82800-2
- Family History: A Novel Knopf, 2004 ISBN 978-0-307-42585-0
- Black & White Knopf, 2007 ISBN 978-1-4000-3212-9
- Devotion: A Memoir Harper, 2010 ISBN 978-0-06-162834-4
- Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life Atlantic Monthly Press, 2013 ISBN 978-0-8021-9343-8
- Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage Knopf, 2017 ISBN 978-0-4514-9448-1
- Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love Knopf, 2019 ISBN 978-1524732714
- Oprah Winfrey's Super Soul Sunday, on the Oprah Winfrey Network, to discuss Devotion on October 20, 2013 
- Today Show on NBC to discuss Inheritance on January 15, 2019 
- CBS This Morning to discuss Inheritance on April 6, 2019 
- PBS News Hour to discuss Inheritance on March 31, 2020 
- 2019: National Jewish Book Award winner in the Autobiography and Memoir category for Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love 
- 2019: Inheritance named a finalist for the Goodreads Choice Award in the Memoir category 
- 2020: Inheritance named a finalist for the Wingate Prize for a non-fiction book "to translate the idea of Jewishness to the general reader."
- "Contact & Bio". Dani Shapiro. 2013-08-26. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
- "Barnes & Noble Interview & Writer Details". Archived from the original on March 19, 2008. Retrieved Feb 28, 2019.
- "Podcast Spotlight: Nothing Stays Hidden For Long on "Family Secrets" | iHeartRadio Blog". blog.iheart.com. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
- "The Way We Live Now: Introducing: The Way We Live Now on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
- Shapiro, Dani (1019). Inheritance. Knopf. p. 228. ISBN 1524732710.
- Maran, Meredith (2016). Why We Write About Ourselves: Twenty Memoirists on Why They Expose Themselves (and Others) in the Name of Literature. Plume. ISBN 0142181978.
- April 6, CBS News; 2019; Pm, 1:51. "Author Dani Shapiro discovers her dad isn't her biological father after DNA test". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved 2020-03-31.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- Mindell, Cindy. "Q & A: Author Dani Shapiro", Jewish Ledger, January 12, 2011. Accessed February 11, 2011.
- "Dani Shapiro | Inspiring People | Living Louder | DanaRoc.com". www.danaroc.com. Retrieved Feb 28, 2019.
- "Books by Dani Shapiro (Author of Inheritance)". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
- Ridley, Jane (Jan 12, 2019). "I'm the result of a secret sperm concoction". Retrieved Feb 28, 2019.
- "Hardcover Nonfiction Books - Best Sellers - Feb. 3, 2019 - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
- Franklin, Ruth (2019-01-15). "March's Book Club Pick: Dani Shapiro's New Memoir Uncovers a Life-Changing Family Secret". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
- Br, Gayle; eisFebruary 5; February 18, 2019Updated:; 2019; Pm, 4:55. "True blood: A review of 'Inheritance,' a memoir by Dani Shapiro". Datebook | San Francisco Arts & Entertainment Guide. Retrieved 2020-04-02.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- Fair, Vanity. "The Best Books of 2019, So Far". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2020-04-06.
- "Calling It Now: Everyone Will Talk About These 4 Books All Year Long". Oprah Magazine. 2019-01-07. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
- "Lit Hub's Most Anticipated Books of 2019". Literary Hub. 2018-12-28. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
- "12 Science Books You Should Read Right Now". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
- "Dani Shapiro". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
- "What Nobody Tells You About Painful Regrets". Oprah.com. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
- "Dani Shapiro". Vogue. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
- "Dani Shapiro". ELLE. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
- "Dani Shapiro | Salon.com". www.salon.com. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
- "Shapiro/Dani". n+1. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
- "Dani Shapiro". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
- Shapiro, Dani (June 15, 2011). "#amwriting". NPlusOne. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
- "The Stories We Carry Meditation and Writing". Kripalu. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
- "The Stories We Carry - 1440 Multiversity". www.1440.org. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
- FAWC-Admin (2020-01-09). "Transforming Chaos into Art: A Workshop in Fiction & Memoir". FINE ARTS WORK CENTER in Provincetown. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
- "Writing for Inner Calm: A Mindset, Methods, and Daily Exercises for All | Dani Shapiro". Skillshare. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
- Barberich, Christene. "Dani Shapiro On How Writing Saved Her Life — & How It Can Save Yours". www.refinery29.com. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
- "The Family Secrets Podcast", Severance Magazine, September 2, 2019
- “Family Secrets Podcast Season 3”, iHeartRadio.com, February 2020
- "Dani Shapiro's New Daily Podcast "The Way We Live Now" Will Keep You Company While Practicing Social Distancing | iHeartRadio Blog". blog.iheart.com. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
- Weddings: "Dani Shapiro, Michael P Maren", The New York Times, June 8, 1997.
- May 9; 2017. "Dani Shapiro's 'Hourglass' Explores A Marriage Over TimeLitchfield County resident and bestselling memoirist Dani Shapiro discusses her latest book, Hourglass". www.ruralintelligence.com. Retrieved 2020-04-03.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- Shaw, Dan (2013-10-24). "Dani Shapiro's Provident Move to the Country". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
- "Dani Shapiro Archives". SuperSoul.tv. Retrieved 2020-04-06.
- Dani Shapiro Opens Up About DNA Shocker That Changed Her Life | TODAY, retrieved 2020-04-06
- April 6, CBS News; 2019; Pm, 1:51. "Author Dani Shapiro discovers her dad isn't her biological father after DNA test". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved 2020-04-06.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- "'Inheritance' author Dani Shapiro answers your questions". PBS NewsHour. 2020-03-31. Retrieved 2020-04-06.
- "Past Winners". Jewish Book Council. Retrieved 2020-01-29.
- "Announcing the Goodreads Choice Winner in Best Memoir & Autobiography!". Goodreads. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
- "Grant, Shapiro and Jacobson make Wingate Prize longlist | The Bookseller". www.thebookseller.com. Retrieved 2020-05-03.