David Ebershoff

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David Ebershoff
Ebershoff Photo with Elektra.JPG
Ebershoff in 2007
Born Pasadena, California
Occupation Writer
Nationality American
Period 2000s-present
Notable works The Danish Girl
The 19th Wife
The Rose City

David Ebershoff (born 1969) is an American writer, editor, and teacher.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Pasadena, California, he is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Chicago, and studied at Keio University in Tokyo.

He published his first novel, The Danish Girl, in 2000. It is inspired by the life of Lili Elbe, one of the first people to have gender reassignment surgery. The novel won the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Lambda Literary Award. It was also a finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Award and an American Library Association Award and was a New York Times Notable book. It has been adapted into a feature film starring Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne and directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper.

Ebershoff published his first collection of short stories, The Rose City, in 2001. It won the Ferro-Grumley Award, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, and was named one of the best books of the year by the Los Angeles Times. Short story writers William Trevor and Alice Munro influenced Ebershoff's short fiction and he has discussed learning to write stories by studying their work. The epigraph of "The Rose City" comes from Trevor: "Like all children, I led a double life."

His second novel, Pasadena, was published in 2002 and was a New York Times bestseller. His fiction has been translated into twenty-five languages and published around the world to critical acclaim. In 2009, True West magazine, citing his West Coast heritage and interests, named him the Best Western Fiction Writer in the United States.

His third novel, The 19th Wife, published in 2009, was an international bestseller, selling almost a million copies around the world. The novel is about one of Brigham Young's plural wives, Ann Eliza Young, as well as polygamy in the United States today.[1] Publishers Weekly called it "an exquisite tour-de-force" and Kirkus Reviews said it was "reminiscent of Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose in scope and ambition", while the Los Angeles Times praised it by saying "it does that thing all good novels do: it entertains us." In 2009, British television talk show hosts Richard and Judy chose The 19th Wife for their on-air book club, making the book a #1 bestseller in the UK. In 2010, the book was made into a television movie of the same name starring Matt Czuchry, Patricia Wettig, and Chyler Leigh.[2] The novel was nominated for the Ferro-Grumley Award and the Utah Book Award and was named one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly.

Ebershoff worked at Random House for twenty years, starting as a summer intern and rising to Vice President and Executive Editor. He became known as an editor of prize-winning and bestselling fiction and nonfiction, turning literary writers into major bestsellers. In 2015 he edited the winner of the National Book Award in fiction, Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson, and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize in biography, The Pope and Mussolini by David Kertzer. In 2013 he became the first editor to have edited the winners of the Pulitzer Prize in fiction and history in the same year ("The Orphan Master's Son" by Adam Johnson for fiction and "Embers of War" by Fredrik Logevall for history). Ebershoff has edited a wide range of writers including novelists David Mitchell, Teju Cole, Charles Bock, Gary Shteyngart, Stefan Merrill Block, John Burnham Schwartz, poet Billy Collins, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Shirin Ebadi, journalists Azadeh Moaveni and Sonia Nazario, actor Diane Keaton, and bestselling presidential scholar Ronald C. White, Jr.. Ebershoff was Jane Jacobs's editor on her final two books and was Norman Mailer's editor for the last five years of his life. Working with Truman Capote's estate, he oversaw the Capote publications for Random House, and was the editor of The Complete Stories of Truman Capote, Summer Crossing, and Portraits and Observations. He also edited the posthumous publications of W.G. Sebald for Random House. He was formerly the publishing director of Random House's classics imprint, the Modern Library.[3] He also writes for Conde Nast Traveler.

Ebershoff has taught writing at NYU and Princeton, and currently teaches literature in the MFA program at Columbia University. He lives in New York City.


  1. ^ Louisa Thomas (August 29, 2008). "Plurality Tale". The New York Times. Retrieved December 25, 2010. 
  2. ^ Donna Freydkin (September 27, 2010). "Unfamiliar world of polygamy is opening up in TV shows, films". USA Today. Retrieved December 25, 2010. 
  3. ^ John Burnham Schwartz (February 27, 2000). "Metamorphosis". The New York Times. Retrieved December 25, 2010. 

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