Zoë Heller

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Zoë Heller
Zoë Heller English write D Shankbone adapted.tif
Heller in 2007
Zoë Kate Hinde Heller

(1965-07-07) 7 July 1965 (age 57)
Alma materSt Anne's College, Oxford
Columbia University (M.A.)
Occupation(s)Journalist, novelist
SpouseLawrence Konner (separated)[1]
Parent(s)Lukas Heller
Caroline Carter Heller
RelativesBruno Heller (brother)
Cordelia Edvardson (aunt)
Hermann Heller (grandfather)

Zoë Kate Hinde Heller (born 7 July 1965) is an English journalist and novelist long resident in New York City. She has published three novels, Everything You Know (1999), Notes on a Scandal (2003), and The Believers (2008). Notes on a Scandal was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and was adapted for a feature film in 2006.


Early life[edit]

Heller was born in St Pancras, north London, as the youngest of four children of Caroline (née Carter) and Lukas Heller, a successful screenwriter; her parents separated when she was five.[2] Her father was a German Jewish immigrant and her mother was English and a Quaker.[3][4] Her paternal grandfather was the political philosopher Hermann Heller.[5] Her brother is screenwriter Bruno Heller. Her sister, Lucy Heller, is Chief Executive of education charity Ark[6] and previously Managing Director of Times Supplements Ltd, the former educational publishing wing of News UK.

She attended Haverstock School in north London where she was a contemporary of David Miliband[7] and then studied English at St Anne's College, Oxford, gaining a first, before going on to Columbia University, New York where she received an MA on Marxist theories of literature and Jonathan Swift.[2][8]


After a period at the UK publisher Chatto, and a spell as a freelance book reviewer, Heller was taken on as a staff feature writer for The Independent on Sunday.[7] She later returned to New York in the early 1990s contracted to write for Vanity Fair. Deputizing for Nick Hornby while he was on holiday led to her reputation as a confessional writer.[7] She wrote for The New Yorker, a weekly column for The Sunday Times Magazine in the UK,[9] and was a columnist for The Daily Telegraph, for which she won the British Press Awards' "Columnist of the Year" in 2002.[10] She co-wrote the screenplay for the independent film, Twenty-One (1991).


Heller has published three novels, Everything You Know (1999), Notes on a Scandal (2003), which was one of six books shortlisted for the Booker Prize and was made into a film in 2006, and The Believers (2008). The Believers was shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award in 2010.[9]

In 2009, she donated the short story What She Did On Her Summer Vacation to Oxfam's 'Ox-Tales' project, four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Her story was published in the 'Water' collection.[11]

Personal life[edit]

In 2006, she married screenwriter Lawrence Konner in a "minimally" Jewish ceremony;[12] the couple separated in 2010.[1] Heller lives in New York City with her two daughters, Lula and Frankie.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Eden, Richard (12 December 2010). "Notes on a Scandal author Zoë Heller 'leaves her Hollywood screenwriter husband". The Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b "And for her next trick, perfection, Profile: Zoe Heller". The Sunday Times. 31 August 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  3. ^ Nathan, John (24 June 2009). "Two giants of literature — and one big question". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  4. ^ Cohen, Patricia (25 February 2009). "Not Much Sympathy for Zoë Heller's Characters, but a Little Understanding". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  5. ^ "WEDDINGS; Miranda Cowley And Bruno Heller". The New York Times. 20 June 1993.
  6. ^ "Lucy Heller". ucl.ac.uk. 26 July 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Leith, Sam (13 September 2008). "Zoë Heller: Metamorphosis". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  8. ^ Vincent, Sally (24 May 2003). "But seriously". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Zoe Heller". British Council. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  10. ^ Birnbaum, Robert (29 July 2004). "Zoe Heller". The Morning News. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  11. ^ "Ox-Tales". Oxfam. Archived from the original on 18 March 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  12. ^ McKay, Alastair (22 January 2007). "Teacher-pupil affairs: That's not the real scandal". Evening Standard. Retrieved 24 March 2020.

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