Susan Cheever

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Susan Cheever in 2011

Susan Cheever (born July 31, 1943) is an American author[1] and a prize-winning best-selling writer well known for her memoir, her writing about alcoholism, and her intimate understanding of American history. She is a recipient of the PEN New England Award.



Cheever's most recent book, published in 2015, is Drinking in America: Our Secret History. The book chronicles how alcohol has influenced the history of the United States.[2] Her other books include My Name is Bill - Bill Wilson: His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous, a biography of Alcoholics Anonymous cofounder Bill Wilson; Home Before Dark, a memoir about her father, novelist John Cheever; Treetops: A Memoir; and five novels: Looking for Work, A Handsome Man, The Cage, Doctors and Women, and Elizabeth Cole. Her essay "Baby Battle," in which she describes immersion in early motherhood and subsequent phases of letting go of her primary identity as a mother, was included in the 2006 anthology Mommy Wars by Leslie Morgan Steiner. Her most recent biography, E.E. Cummings: A Life was reviewed in The New York Times,[3] The New Yorker,[4] and was selected as one of the best books of 2015 by The Economist ("With boundless new detail gathered through meticulous research, Susan Cheever succeeds where most other biographers have failed....")[5] and The San Francisco Chronicle.[6]

Cheever is the author of American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work, published in December 2006. Cheever was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1983. She graduated from Pembroke College in Brown University in 1965. She is also a member of the Corporation of Yaddo and serves on the Author's Guild Council. In addition to working on her books, she teaches in the Bennington College M.F.A. program and at The New School.

Cheever is the author of Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction, which was published in 2008.[7]

Awards and honors[edit]


Cheever is the daughter of novelist John Cheever and Mary Cheever. She has two brothers, Benjamin Cheever and Federico Cheever. Cheever has been married three times and divorced twice.[7] Cheever married Robert Cowley, the son of Malcolm Cowley, in 1967. The couple divorced 8 years later.[8] Cheever's second husband was Calvin Tomkins, II, whom she married in 1981. Cheever and Tomkins have a daughter.[9] Cheever married her third husband, Warren James Hinckle III, in 1989.[10] Cheever and Hinckle have a son, Warren Hinckle IV, who was born in November 1989.[10][11]


  1. ^ "Susan Cheever". PBS. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  2. ^ Italie, Leanne (October 14, 2015). "Susan Cheever chronicles drinking in America in new book". Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  3. ^ "Lives of the Poets". NYT. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  4. ^ "Paul Muldoon -- Charles Wright In The New Yorker". The New Yorker. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  5. ^ "Books of the Year". The Economist. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  6. ^ "Best of 2014". Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  7. ^ a b "A Writer Alone at Last". New York Times. October 24, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  8. ^ Smilgis, Martha (February 4, 1980). "The Daughter Also Rises: Susan Cheever Writes a Novel That Makes Father John Proud". People. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  9. ^ Hodgman, Ann (June 10, 2001). "Quality Time". New York Times. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  10. ^ a b Mitford, Jessica (October 4, 1992). "Standing and delivery: From total immersion to drug cocktails, from birthing stools to the 'Empathy Belly', there are more fashions in childbirth than in hemlines". The Independent. Archived from the original on September 23, 2009. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  11. ^ Boulware, Jack (February 14, 1996). "Hinckle, Hinckle, Little Star (Part II)". San Francisco Weekly. Retrieved October 8, 2012.

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