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]

David Ebershoff is an award-winning writer, editor, and teacher.

His debut novel, The Danish Girl, was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne and Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander and directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper. Ebershoff's most recent novel is the #1 bestseller, The 19th Wife, which was made into a television movie that has aired around the globe. His books have been translated into twenty-five languages to critical acclaim. Ebershoff has appeared twice on Out Magazine's annual Out 100 list of influential LGBT people. He teaches in the graduate writing program at Columbia University and worked for many years as an editor at Random House. Originally from California, he lives in New York City.

Writing career[edit]

Ebershoff 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 for transgender fiction. 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 and an international bestseller. The film adaptation was nominated for four Academy Awards, three Golden Globes, two SAG awards, five Critics' Choice Awards, and five BAFTAs. Alicia Vikander won an Oscar, a SAG, and a Critics Choice Award for her role in the film.

Ebershoff's collection of short stories, The Rose City, won the Ferro-Grumley Award for excellence in LGBT fiction, 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."

Ebershoff's second novel, Pasadena, was his first New York Times bestseller and was inspired by the history of his home town. His third novel, The 19th Wife was a "New York Times" and London "Sunday Times" bestseller and sold 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 in the 21st century.[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. True West magazine, citing Ebershoff's West Coast heritage and interests, named him the Best Western Fiction Writer in the United States.

Editing career[edit]

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 fiction and nonfiction who could turn literary writers into major bestsellers, including David Mitchell, Gary Shteyngart, Adam Johnson, Billy Collins, and Teju Cole. He edited three Pulitzer Prize winners, one National Book Award winner, four Booker Prize nominees, and four National Book Critics Circle Award finalists. 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 Ebershoff became the first editor to edit 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, Adam Johnson, Jennifer duBois, former United States Poet Laureate Billy Collins, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Shirin Ebadi, Academy Award winning actress Diane Keaton, and Pulitzer Prize winners Sonia Nazario, Amy Ellis Nutt, Sebastian Smee, and Robert Massey. 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] Ebershoff retired from Random House in November 2015 to focus on his writing.

Teaching career[edit]

Ebershoff has taught writing at NYU and Princeton, and currently teaches literature in the MFA program at Columbia University.


  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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