Janice Erlbaum

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Janice Erlbaum
Born New York City, NY
Occupation Author, Poet, Novelist
Genre Memoir, Poetry, Fiction
Notable works GirlBomb: A Halfway Homeless Memoir
Have You Found Her: A Memoir

Janice Erlbaum is an American author. She is the author of two memoirs, GirlBomb: A Halfway Homeless Memoir [1] and Have You Found Her: A Memoir.,[2] and one novel, "I, Liar."[3] Her poetry and prose have been featured in anthologies including Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Café, The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order, The Best American Erotic Poems From 1800 to the Present, and Verses that Hurt.

She lives in her native New York City with her domestic partner, Bill Scurry.[4]

Early life[edit]

As chronicled in her memoir Girlbomb: A Halfway Homeless Memoir, after running away from home at age 15 Erlbaum spent years going from youth shelter to shelter, a self-described "halfway homeless" high school student afflicted with a taste for hard drugs and risky choices, while attending Bayard Rustin High School for the Humanities.[5]


Published for the first time at the age of 20 in New York Press, where she was a frequent contributor of personal essays and short features from 1991 through 1995, Janice Erlbaum was a prominent fixture on the early ‘90s New York slam poetry scene, performing as a member of the feminist collective Pussy Poets, and earning a spot on MTV’s “Sex in the ‘90s: Love Sucks” special, as well as the cover of the Nuyorican anthology. She was a featured poet on the Lollapalooza ’94 tour, and performed and hosted at Woodstock 94. Pussy Poets and Erlbaum’s solo act were seen at venues including Dixon Place, the Kitchen, St. Mark's Poetry Project, and Fez.


In 2006, Villard/Random House published her first book, Girlbomb: A Halfway Homeless Memoir. An explicit look back at her teenage years spent in shelters and group homes.[6] It was awarded a spot on the New York Public Library’s “25 to Remember” list for 2006.[7] It was simultaneously published in the UK as The Runaway by Ebury Press, and under its original name by Random House Australia. Her second memoir, Have You Found Her, was published by Villard/Random House in 2008; it details her return to the shelter as an adult volunteer, and the deep relationship she forged with a brilliant, damaged girl she called “Samantha.”[8] In May 2015, her first novel I, Liar was published by Thought Catalog Books.[3] She has also contributed, in recent years, to McSweeneys.org, Nerve.com, and Nextbook.

Other Work and Activism[edit]

In 1996, she was hired at dot com art factory Pseudo.com (subject of the documentary We Live in Public), and rose to the position of Executive Producer before departing in 1999. Janice was the Editor-at-Large at POPsmear magazine and a contributor to BUST magazine from 1994 through 2007.

She served on the board of Girls Write Now, an organization that pairs at-risk high school girls with writing mentors, and volunteered at GEMS,[9] which serves girls who have been commercially sexually exploited. From 2010 to 2012, she was on the board of Bowery Arts & Sciences/Bowery Poetry Club. As of June 2015,[4] Erlbaum is teaching memoir writing, and continues to address audiences at colleges, bookstores, coffee houses, and theaters across the US.


  1. ^ Girlbomb: A Halfway Homeless Memoir (Villard, March 2006)
  2. ^ Have You Found Her: A Memoir (Villard, Feb. 2008)
  3. ^ a b http://thoughtcatalog.com/book/i-liar/
  4. ^ a b Author « Girlbomb : Janice Erlbaum. Girlbomb.com (2006-03-07). Retrieved on 2011-11-07.
  5. ^ McKinley, Will. "Janice Erlbaum and the girl in her memoir." The Villager Volume 76, Number 47 | April 18–24, 2007
  6. ^ McKelvey, Tara (9 April 2009). "Nonfiction Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  7. ^ "25 Books to Remember from 2006". New York Public Library. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  8. ^ Lewis, Allison M. (April 2008). "Have You Found Her: A Memoir". Library Journal. 133 (6). Retrieved 18 July 2016 – via EBSCO. (Subscription required (help)).
  9. ^ Fictionaut Five: Janice Erlbaum. Blog.fictionaut.com (2009-05-04). Retrieved on 2011-11-07.