Jenifer Levin

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Jenifer Levin is an American fiction writer, noted for her contributions to lesbian fiction. As well as writing fiction, she has contributed to the New York Times[1] and Washington Post.[2] The Washington Post called her a member of the "lesbian literati".[3]

Levin, herself a former competitive swimmer,[4] has set many of her novels in the world of competitive sport, receiving attention for her coverage of gender, power, and sexuality in that context.[5] Her first novel was Water Dancer, the tale of a long-distance swimmer recovering from a nervous breakdown, whose trainer and his wife both fall in love with her. The New York Times noted that Levin involved her readers successfully in "an odd world", but criticized the characters' depth and the lack of resolution to their difficulties.[6] Levin is Jewish.[7] Her third novel, Shimoni's Lover, was set in Israel.[8] In 1993 she produced The Sea of Light, which the Dallas Morning News called "beautiful and probing."[9] The Sea of Light was voted 8th in a Bywater Books (a lesbian publisher) poll of the ten most important lesbian novels of the 20th century.[10] Her fifth published book, Love and Death and Other Disasters, collected stories written over a period between 1977 and 1995.[11]

Levin has two sons, adopted from Cambodia.[12] She has spoken several times of her experiences adopting as a single gay woman, from a country that does not formally allow foreign adoptions,[13] including in a 1995 volume Wanting a Child edited by Jill Bialosky and Helen Shulman.[14]


  1. ^ Levin, Jenifer (5 November 1988). "Love is a federal highway". New York Times. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  2. ^ Levin, Jenifer (8 July 1993). "Vassar, hear them roar". Washington Post. 
  3. ^ Swisher, Kara (15 March 1993). "A Different Sort of Sell For Gay Authors; The New Lesbian Literati Can Take or Leave Crossover Appeal". The Washington Post. 
  4. ^ Graeber, Laurel (July 10, 1994). "New and noteworthy paperbacks". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  5. ^ Cochiarale, Michael (2004). Upon further review. Greenwood. p. 106. ISBN 0-275-98050-2. 
  6. ^ Caplan, Brina (November 28, 1982). "Swimming and surviving". New York Times. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  7. ^ "Author Talk: Jenifer Levin and David Pratt". Lambda Literary. 17 July 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2013. .
  8. ^ Levin, Jenifer (August 8, 1993). "Children's Books; Among the Kibbutzniks". New York Times. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  9. ^ Marek, Annemarie (August 8, 1993). "'Sea' teems with swimmers' emotions". Dallas Morning News. 
  10. ^ "Big Lesbian Read Contest: The Winners". Bywater Books. Retrieved 20 July 2009. [dead link]
  11. ^ Miner, Valerie (1 July 1997). "Love and Death and Other Disasters". Women's Review of Books. 
  12. ^ Leddy, Chuck (9 March 2006). "Essays convey range of the adoptive experience". Boston Globe. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  13. ^ Spilman, Rob (5 May 1998). "Missing Children". Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  14. ^ Jill Bialosky, ed. (1998). Wanting a Child. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 0-374-28634-5.