Heather Havrilesky

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Havrilesky in 2016

Heather Havrilesky (born April 1970)[1][2][3][4]is an American author, essayist, and humorist. She writes the advice column "Ask Polly" for Substack. She is the author of Disaster Preparedness: A Memoir, the advice book How to Be a Person in the World and the essay collection What If This Were Enough?[5][6]


In 1996, Havrilesky was hired as a staff writer at Suck.com, a webzine that was one of the web's earliest ad-supported content sites. Together with artist Terry Colon, she wrote the popular "Filler" comic strip for the site under the pen name Polly Esther.[7][8]

In 2001, Havrilesky started an advice column on her personal blog called Dear Rabbit.[9] In May of that year, she began writing an advice column on Suck, but the site went under a month later.[10]

Havrilesky began writing for Salon in 2003 as their TV critic.[11] In 2011, Havrilesky became one of the original columnists for The Daily, the world's first iPad-only news app.[12] Havrilesky exited that position soon after the app launched,[13] and the site was shuttered by its parent News Corporation in December 2012.

She pitched an advice column called Ask Polly to The Awl in 2012, which ran as a weekly feature.[14] New York magazine began publishing the column in 2014.[15][16] Each column addresses a single letter requesting advice.[16]

Havrilesky's first book, Disaster Preparedness: A Memoir (2010),[17] is an autobiographical work, it dealt mostly with her upbringing in Durham, North Carolina.[18] Her second book, How to Be a Person in the World, was released in July 2016. The book was made up of new Ask Polly advice columns along with a handful of her most popular previously published columns.[19] Her third book, the essay collection What If This Were Enough? was released in 2018.[20] Erin Keane of Salon.com summarized the book as follows: "Havrilesky peels back the layers of late-capitalism malaise that bind us to the promise of some better version of ourselves lurking just beyond our reach, and dares us instead to accept our current, flawed lives, suffering and all, in order to settle into a less anxious and resentful present."[20]

Selected works[edit]


Other writings[edit]

  • Havrilesky, Heather (March 23, 2015). "Mother of Dragons". Shouts & Murmurs. The New Yorker. Vol. 91, no. 5. p. 49. Retrieved 2020-02-21.


  1. ^ Havrilesky, Heather (2013). "Awaiting Renewal". aeon.co. Aeon. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  2. ^ "The Pied Piper of Feminism".
  3. ^ Havrilesky, Heather (4 April 2020). "Birthday". Retrieved 21 February 2023.
  4. ^ Julia Llewellyn Smith, She's written a tell-all memoir about hating her husband..., Times, London, 28 February 2022, Times2, pp. 4-5.
  5. ^ Havrilesky, Heather (2013). "Awaiting Renewal". aeon.co. Aeon. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  6. ^ "The Pied Piper of Feminism".
  7. ^ Braiker, Brian (2015-11-06). "Gen Xers rejoice: Suck.com comes back as a daily newsletter". Digiday. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  8. ^ "Maria Bamford, Writers Galore, MATES and More: The Week In Podcasts". Nerdist. 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  9. ^ Heather Havrilesky (2001-10-24). "9:58 AM". Rabbit Blog. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  10. ^ "It's Never Been Harder to Be Young". NYMag.com. 2016-07-14. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  11. ^ Zack Smith (2016-07-06). "Heather Havrilesky, a Former Durhamite Turned New York Advice Columnist, Comes Home to Fix Your Life". IndyWeek. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  12. ^ Miranda Popkey (2011-01-18). "Heather Havrilesky on 'Disaster Preparedness'". Paris Review. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  13. ^ Michael Calderone (2011-05-27). "The Daily, Rupert Murdoch's iPad Paper, Loses Another Staffer". HuffPost. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  14. ^ Heather Havrilesky (2014-08-20). "Polly Asks: New York Magazine Wants Me to Write Ask Polly For Them. Should I Tell Them to Piss Off?". The Awl. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  15. ^ Alana Massey (2016-07-14). "Ask Polly's Heather Havrilesky: 'I feel connected to the people who write to me'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  16. ^ a b Lyz Lenz (July 25, 2016). "HOW TO BE A PERSON IN THE WORLD BY HEATHER HAVRILESKY". The Rumpus. Retrieved 2019-04-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ Neil Genzlinger (2011-01-28). "The Problem With Memoirs". NY Times. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  18. ^ Dan Zigmond (2011-02-06). "'Disaster Preparedness,' by Heather Havrilesky". SF Gate. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  19. ^ Leah Greenblatt (2016-07-16). "How to Be a Person in the World by Heather Havrilesky: EW review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  20. ^ a b Keane, Erin (October 2, 2018). "Heather Havrilesky asks a radical, essential question: "What If This Were Enough?"". Salon.com.
  21. ^ Havrilesky, Heather (2011-12-06). Disaster Preparedness: A Memoir. Penguin. ISBN 978-1-59448-546-6.
  22. ^ Havrilesky, Heather (2017). How to Be a Person in the World: Ask Polly's Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-101-91158-7.
  23. ^ Havrilesky, Heather (2017). How to Be a Person in the World: Ask Polly's Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-101-91158-7.
  24. ^ Havrilesky, Heather (2017-02-13). Ask Polly's Guide to Your Next Crisis. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-525-43517-4.
  25. ^ Havrilesky, Heather (2019-10-08). What If This Were Enough?. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-525-43496-2.
  26. ^ Havrilesky, Heather (2022-02-08). Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-298449-4.

External links[edit]