Lauren Belfer

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Lauren Belfer
EducationBuffalo Seminary,

Swarthmore College,

Columbia University
GenreHistorical Fiction
Notable worksCity of Light, A Fierce Radiance, And After the Fire

Lauren Belfer is an American author of three novels: City of Light, A Fierce Radiance, and And After the Fire.

Personal life[edit]

Belfer, born July 8, 1954, is from Buffalo, New York, where she attended the Buffalo Seminary.[1] The school would later serve as the basis for the girls' school depicted in her debut novel, City Of Light, about Buffalo, NY during the Pan-American Exposition.

Belfer majored in Medieval Studies at Swarthmore College (graduated 1975), has an M.F.A. from Columbia University, and worked as a file clerk at an art gallery, a paralegal, an assistant photo editor at a newspaper, a fact checker at magazines, and as a researcher and associate producer at CBS News and on documentary films.[citation needed]

She is married to noted musicologist Michael Marissen and lives in Greenwich Village, New York City.[2] Her first marriage (1982) was to human-rights lawyer Charles Church, and they adopted a son, Tristan.


Her debut novel, City Of Light, was a New York Times bestseller[3] as well as a number one Book Sense pick, a Barnes & Noble Discover Award nominee, a New York Times Notable Book,[4] a Library Journal Best Book,[5] a Main Selection of the Book-Of-The-Month Club, and a bestseller in Great Britain.[6] It has been translated into seven languages[6] and adapted into a stage play[7] by Anthony Clarvoe.

Her second novel, A Fierce Radiance, is a historical thriller that follows the development of penicillin during World War II in New York City. It was published by HarperCollins in June 2010. This novel was named one of the best novels of 2010 by The Washington Post[8] and it was one of the year's five best mysteries for NPR.[9] The paperback edition was released in March 2011.

Her third novel, And After The Fire, is a powerful and passionate novel inspired by historical events about two women, one European and one American, and the mysterious choral masterpiece by Johann Sebastian Bach that changes both of their lives. It has been compared to A.S. Byatt's Possession and received a starred review from Booklist.[10] USA Today gave And After The Fire a 4-star review, writing that the novel "swells with life’s great themes—love, death, family and faith—and the insistent, dark music of loss.”[11] The New Yorker called And After The Fire "provocative."[12] It was published and released by HarperCollins, on May 3, 2016 and was awarded a National Jewish Book Award in January 2017.[13]

In May 2016, Belfer and Marissen were profiled in The New York Times. In the article, they discuss their working process, Bach, and writing a novel with musical accuracy.[2]

In January 2017, Belfer and Marissen were interviewed by Michael Enright for the CBC radio program "Sunday Edition."[14]

Belfer's fiction has also been published in the Michigan Quarterly Review,[15] Shenandoah, and Henfield Prize Stories. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Book Review,[16][17] the Washington Post Book World,[18][19] the Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere.

Belfer was interviewed as an author/historian for the PBS documentary on Elbert Hubbard entitled Elbert Hubbard: An American Original.[20]


  1. ^ "Buffalo Seminary Profile | Buffalo, New York (NY)". Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  2. ^ a b James R. Oestreich (May 25, 2016). "A Literary Couple Grapple With Bach and His God". The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  3. ^ "Independents/Chain Bestseller List". Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  4. ^ "Notable Books of the Year". Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b "Author Listings: HarperCollins Publishers". Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  7. ^ "Buffalo Spree Magazine". Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  8. ^ "The best novels of 2010". The Washington Post. December 17, 2010. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  9. ^ "Murder, They Wrote: The Year In Mysteries". NPR. December 15, 2010. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "2016 National Jewish Book Awards Announced". Jewish Book Council. January 11, 2017. Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  14. ^
  15. ^;cc=mqrarchive;rgn=full%20text;idno=act2080.0031.002;didno=act2080.0031.002;view=image;seq=00000130;node=act2080.0031.002%3A18
  16. ^ "Books in Brief: Fiction - The New York Times". Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  17. ^ "Books in Brief: Fiction - The New York Times". Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  18. ^ "Murder, He Wired". Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  19. ^ "Our Bodies, Ourselves". Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  20. ^

External links[edit]