Alison Lurie

Biography of Alison Lurie

Alison Lurie (born September 3, 1926) is an American novelist and academic. She won the Pulitzer Prize for her 1984 novel Foreign Affairs. Although better known as a novelist, she has also written numerous non-fiction books and articles, particularly on children's literature and the semiotics of dress.

Lurie was born in Chicago but grew up in White Plains, New York, the daughter of Bernice (Stewart) and Harry Lawrence Lurie, a Latvian-born professor. She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1947. The next year she married Jonathan Peale Bishop, then a graduate student at Harvard. Bishop was a critic and essayist who, in the 1970s and later, became a writer of autobiographically-inflected books about Catholic Christianity. He taught at Amherst College, in Massachusetts (1957–61), and then at Cornell University (1961-). Lurie moved along with him. Lurie and Bishop have three sons; they divorced in 1985 after a long separation. She is currently married to the writer Edward Hower. She spends part of her time in London, part at Cornell, and part in Key West.

In 1970, Lurie began to teach in the English Department at Cornell, where she was tenured in 1979. She taught Children’s Literature (a new field in the 1970s) and writing. In 1989 she was named the F. J. Whiton Professor of American Literature at Cornell. She is now emerita.

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