Tama Janowitz

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Tama Janowitz (born April 12, 1957 San Francisco, California) is an American novelist and a short story writer.[1] She is often referenced as one of the main "brat pack" authors, along with Bret Easton Ellis, and Jay McInerney.[2]


Her parents, a psychiatrist father, Julian Janowitz, and literature professor (Cornell University) mother, Phyllis Janowitz, divorced when she was ten. She and her brother David grew up with her mother in Massachusetts.[3] and for two years in the late 1960s, in Israel.[4]

She graduated from Barnard College with a B.A. in 1977, and from Hollins College with an M.A. in 1979.[5]

She studied at the Columbia University School of the Arts and started writing about life in New York City, where she had settled down. She socialized with Andy Warhol[6] and became well known in New York's literary and social circles. Her 1986 collection of short stories, Slaves of New York brought her wider fame.[6] Slaves of New York was adapted into a 1989 film directed by James Ivory and starring Bernadette Peters. Janowitz wrote the screenplay and also appeared, playing Peters' friend.

Janowitz has been an icon of literary success to at least one generation of writers. She has published seven novels, one collection of stories and one work of non-fiction. She left Manhattan to live in Brooklyn with her British husband and art-gallery owner, Tim Hunt,[7][8] and their daughter.[9] She now lives near Ithaca, New York.[10]

Her memoir, Scream: A Memoir of Glamour and Dysfunction, was published in August 2016 to widespread interest and reviews both positive and negative. Writing in The New York Times Book Review, Ada Calhoun noted Janowitz's deadpan, almost careless way of looking at her own life and the glamor of hanging out with Andy Warhol and dancing at Studio 54. The review also addressed the concern with material goods and financial security that drives many of Janowitz's novels and led her to appear in ads for Amaretto and other products. Wrote Calhoun, "This memoir — which spans her childhood (partly spent in 1968 Israel, where her family was booted from a hotel for not paying), her adventuresome youth (she had a fling with a 63-year-old Lawrence Durrell when she was 19), her career struggles and successes, and her more recent life as caretaker to her dying mother — shows that she comes by her obsession with money honestly."[11]

In her fifties, Janowitz discovered a love of horseback riding, as described in her memoir.

She became an overnight literary sensation, thanks as much to her self impelled publicity campaign as to the merits of the book itself.[12]

One discerning critic has called her metaphors "emetic." In 1978 she won a graduate fellowship to the writing program at Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia. In 1985 she received an M.F.A degree from Columbia University. For a year after she received her degree she was an Alfred Hodder Fellow in the Humanities at Princeton University. She then received a second grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1986 and has been honored with awards from CCLM. </ref>


  • 1975 Bread Loaf Writers fellowship
  • 1976; 1977 Janoway Fiction prize
  • 1982 National Endowment award [13]


  • American Dad, Crown, 1981, ISBN 978-0-517-56573-5; Picador, 1988, ISBN 9780330302678
  • Slaves of New York, Crown Publishers, 1986, ISBN 978-0-517-56107-2
  • A Cannibal in Manhattan, Washington Square Press, July 1988, ISBN 978-0-671-66598-2
  • The Male Cross-Dresser Support Group, Crown Publishers, 1992, ISBN 978-0-517-58698-3; Simon and Schuster, 1994, ISBN 978-0-671-87150-5
  • By the Shores of Gitchee Gumee Crown Publishers, 1996, ISBN 978-0-517-70298-7
  • A Certain Age, Doubleday, 1999; Anchor Books, 2000, ISBN 978-0-385-49611-7
  • Hear that?, Illustrator Tracy Dockray, SeaStar Books, 2001, ISBN 978-1-58717-074-4
  • Peyton Amberg, Bloomsbury, 2003, ISBN 978-0-7475-6138-5; Macmillan, 2004, ISBN 978-0-312-31845-1
  • They Is Us, The Friday Project Limited, 2008, ISBN 9781906321123



  1. ^ JRank - biography
  2. ^ Wyatt, Edward (August 7, 2005). "Bret Easton Ellis: The Man in the Mirror". New York Times.
  3. ^ "She'll Take Manhattan", New York Magazine, July 14, 1986
  4. ^ Fulton, Alice. "Phyllis Janowitz" (PDF). blogs.cornell.edu. Cornell University. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Tama Janowitz Biography". Biography.jrank.org. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
  6. ^ a b Random House - author profile
  7. ^ Hunt, Timothy. "Timothy Hunt". linkedln.com. Linkedin. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Tama Janowitz, Writer, Slaves of New York & Tim Hunt, Andy Warhol Foundation". vimeo.com. Vimeo, Inc. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  9. ^ Grigoriadis, Vanessa (1999-08-09). "Tama Janowitz, Unchained". Nymag.com. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
  10. ^ Batya Ungar-Sargon (October 10, 2013). "Something Really Bad Is Always Happening to Former Literary 'It Girl' Tama Janowitz". Tablet Magazine.
  11. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/21/books/review/tama-janowitz-scream-memoir.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fbooks&action=click&contentCollection=books&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=10&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0
  12. ^ "Current Biography Yearbook" is about the 1989 year, Tama's biography is on page 278.
  13. ^ "Tama Janowitz Biography". Biography.jrank.org. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
  14. ^ http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062391339/scream

External links[edit]