IN BRIEF (100 words)

Cathi Hanauer is the New York Times bestselling author of three novels—Gone, Sweet Ruin, and My Sister’s Bones—and editor of two essay anthologies, The Bitch in the House and The Bitch is Back, which was an NPR “Best Book” of 2016. She has written articles, essays, and criticism for The New York Times, Elle, O, Real Simple, Refinery 29, and numerous other publications; has contributed to many essay anthologies; and is the co-founder, along with her husband, Daniel Jones, of the New York Times “Modern Love” column. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts and New York City. Find her at, or watch her 2017 TED talk.

Watch my TED Talk:

Watch a talk I gave at Lip Service, in Miami:

Watch NextTribe Editor-in-Chief Jeannie Ralston interview me:

See me quoted in a recent New York Times piece about midlife women and anger:


A LITTLE LONGER (200 words)

Cathi Hanauer is the New York Times bestselling author of three acclaimed novels—Gone (Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2012), Sweet Ruin (Atria/S&S, 2006), and My Sister’s Bones (1996)—and the editor of two essay anthologies: The Bitch in the House (William Morrow/HarperCollins, 2002), which was a #10 New York Times bestseller and sold in 16 countries, and The Bitch is Back (Morrow/HC, 2016), which was an NPR “Best Book” of 2016. She has written articles, essays, and criticism for The New York Times, Elle, O, Real Simple, Glamour, Refinery 29, and numerous other publications, and contributed to many essay anthologies (see Other Writing). She was the books columnist for both Glamour and Mademoiselle, wrote the relationships advice column for both Seventeen (in her twenties) and (2018-19), and has taught writing at The New School, in New York, and at the University of Arizona, in Tucson, as well as privately. In 2004, she and her husband, Daniel Jones, started the New York Times “Modern Love” column, which Dan later took over. She and Dan live in Northampton, Massachusetts and New York City. Find her at, or watch her TED talk.

Watch my TED Talk:

Watch a talk I gave at Lip Service, in Miami:

Watch NextTribe Editor-in-Chief Jeannie Ralston interview me:

See me quoted in a recent New York Times piece about midlife women and anger



I grew up in West Orange, NJ, with two parents, two younger sisters, a younger brother, and many pets, including dogs, parakeets, turtles, tropical fish, and, at one point, sea monkeys. I attended public school in my (back then) mostly Italian-Catholic town, even though I was neither Italian nor Catholic; these circumstances helped me create the fictional setting for my first novel, My Sister’s Bones. I’ve also explored my relationship to New Jersey in other writing. (See "Her Inner Jersey Girl”). I attended college at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications, where I majored in Magazine Journalism and English Literature. I graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, with the Wolseley Award for journalism and an ASME internship at Seventeen magazine under my belt.

For much of the '80s, I lived in New York City and worked as an editor at Seventeen, with a two-year break to help write the prototype of a magazine called Back Home, for which I traveled around writing stories about churchgoing people in rural places. I also wrote for Seventeen and, later, for ElleOReal Simple, Mademoiselle, MirabellaSelfGlamourThe New York Times Book Review, and other publications. (See "Other Writing”) Eventually I began writing fiction, and in 1990 I enrolled in the University of Arizona's MFA program, where school was free (I had a scholarship), living was cheap, and the desert mountains reigned majestically on all sides. There I met my now-husband, Daniel Jones, who was finishing the same program.

In Tucson, along with writing Seventeen's monthly advice column "Relating" (which eventually was syndicated to newspapers around the country) and briefly teaching Freshman Comp, I immersed myself in fiction. In 1992, I sold my first short story, "Leftovers," to (yes) Seventeen. My fiction editor there was Adrian Nicole LeBlanc; my articles editor (and former boss) Robbie Myers; other colleagues Sarah Crichton and Veronica Chambers. These remarkable women became and in some cases still are my closest friends. I also in those years met my now longtime close friend and colleague Kate Christensen.

Dan and I married in 1992, but we didn't live together until we moved from Tucson back (for me) to New York six months later. Though excited to settle in with Dan, I also mourned the loss of my solitude. (See "A Bed of One's Own”) In New York, I finished my MFA thesis—my novel My Sister's Bones—and sold it in a two-book deal. I quickly became pregnant, and I spent the next few queasy months trying to write a second novel while making a living and learning how to be a mother. Don't ask if that novel is a bleak and histrionic story about a pregnant woman running away from New York. Or if it ever got published. However, one of its better chapters evolved into the short story "The Dinner Date,” later published by Atria/Simon & Schuster. [here]

Our daughter, Phoebe, was born on January 3, 1995, after, in keeping with what seemed like the fashion of the time, many hours of natural childbirth followed by an emergency C-section. After five days of hospitalization with a fever and a newborn, I came home starved and weak, with throbbing breasts, a baby I'd yet to diaper (too sick), and a column due in three days that I'd planned to write "while the baby napped." Dan was a sweet, attentive father, but his one week (!) of paternity leave ended the next day, and back to work he went. And then there we were: me, my baby, my stitched-together body, and my deadline. This was probably the early genesis of The Bitch in the House.

Soon I developed a chronic breast infection, which I wrote about in my essay "Breastfeeding: The Agony and the Ecstacy.” Once I was told to stop nursing, motherhood became much more fun. But it wasn't easy. We had little money to hire a sitter, yet I had a second novel already overdue, a monthly column to write, and an income we relied on as much as Dan's. Eventually we found the wonderful Vacil Richards, a loving single mother of three from St. Vincent; she became our beloved part-time nanny until we left New York five years later.

Our son, Nathaniel, was born July 5, 1998, by VBAC. For whatever reasons, I was able to nurse him for more than two years. Both kids are healthy adults today, my personal proof that formula babies do just fine. (See "Don't Listen to the Shoulds.”) By now, Dan was Publications Director for the non-profit New Visions for Public Schools and also had just sold his first novel, After Lucy [here]; I was writing my column (after "Relating" I became the monthly books columnist for Mademoiselle and later for Glamour), still writing that second novel (don't ask), and taking care of the kids. Those years were a blur of sleeplessness, nursing, fun and joy, stress and exhaustion, hard work, and good, lifelong friends who were very much in the same place we were.

In 1999, we left the city and our overstuffed apartment for pretty, crunchy Northampton, MA, where Dan would consult for New Visions, I would write my books column and freelance, and we would attempt to divide the domestic chores and parenting equally. We bought a house with the money we'd made selling our (much appreciated) New York apartment, enrolled Phoebe in a new pre-school and Nathaniel in part-time affordable daycare, and voila, we were living the American Dream. Except that, lucky and grateful as I felt for the many beautiful things in our lives, something wasn't right. Namely, our existence (but particularly mine) felt like constant chaos. I channeled this anxiety into my second book, The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood and Marriage, published in 2002 by William Morrow/HarperCollins. (See Bitch Introduction.)

Apparently I wasn't alone in my complaints; Bitch became a #10 New York Times bestseller, eventually published in sixteen countries. Two years later, Dan followed with the companion volume, The Bastard on the Couch: 27 Men Try Really Hard to Explain their Feelings about Love, Loss, Fatherhood and Freedom. And we officially became The Bitch and The Bastard.

Among many other long awaited things, the success of Bitch gave me time to write Sweet Ruin, a novel about love and loss and marriage and (especially) adultery, published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in 2006. [here] I also taught a non-fiction writing class in The New School’s MFA program; began to speak nationally about the trials and joys of being a contemporary working mother (my TED talk on this: ; continued to write for magazines; and saw my kids evolve from babies/ toddlers into self-possessed, funny teenagers.

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Around the time Bitch came out, I had begun taking the SSRI Celexa, which, in combination with the success of the book and the kids growing up, changed my life: I morphed from a stressed-out insomniac to a calmer, happier person. So calm that after a few years I went off the drug, a grueling process I described in an essay for Elle ("Club Med”). By two years later, the insomnia and anxiety had returned, so I went back on Celexa, which soon restored my former calm. I eventually wrote about this, too, also in Elle [here]; the two pieces have proved helpful bookends for readers grappling with decisions about these drugs. I also wrote about SSRIs in my third novel, Gone (Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2012) [here]—a story about midlife marriage, motherhood, fatherhood, art, work, and more, in which the main male character, Eric, a once famous, now failing sculptor, struggles with depression.

In the fall of 2004, at the invitation of the Styles editor of The New York Times, Dan and I created the "Modern Love" column in Sunday Styles. Dan soon took over the column, which continued to gain in popularity; it is now an international phenomenon, having launched more than 50 book deals, a podcast that debuted as #1 on the iTunes chart, coast-to-coast Modern Love Live events, several Modern Love anthologies, and a star-studded TV show out on Amazon in October of 2019. The column now receives some 9,000 submissions a year. In 2018, having edited it from afar for 14 years, Dan was made a full-time Times employeeand we began to live part-time back in New York.

As time went on—as I aged into my forties and beyond; as I had more security and choices about how I wanted to live—I became much more content. I wanted to do a book that documented these later, less difficult years, so I contacted some of the original Bitch contributors as well as many new ones and created the sequel, The Bitch is Back: Older, Wiser, and (Getting) Happier. [here] The book was published by Morrow in 2016 to glowing reviews and was named an NPR “Best Book of 2016”; reviewing it in The New York Times Book Review, Lori Gottlieb called it "at once thrilling and reassuring” and “mature and existential,” saying it “pops with subversive wit." [here] The review appeared on my birthday, making it possibly the happiest birthday of my life.

In 2017 I was invited to give a talk at TEDxKC, the largest TED event in the US, before an audience of several thousand and to be live-streamed globally. Thrilled, I spoke about women, marriage, motherhood, work, and family—a sort of “How I Became the Bitch in the House”—spanning the years of both Bitch anthologies. []

In the past few years, I’ve contributed to several essay anthologies (see “Other Writing”), taught a couple of How to Do an Anthology workshops and seminars in MA that I may soon offer in NY, and, for about a year, wrote the relationships advice column “Answer Queen” for NextTribe, an online site for middle-aged women. []This, too, felt like a nice bookend for the advice column I wrote decades before for Seventeen. I stopped this when the site shifted to a different vibe/direction and to focus on writing a new novel about (among other things) a mid-life mother whose 18-year-old son is accused of rape. I’m hoping to have the book, currently titled Responsible, finished by year-end 2019.

If you’d like to join my mailing list for news and updates, click here. You can also contact me about writing for your publication, working with you on your own writing, or just to say hi. Either way, thank you for reading this! I know it was long (at my age, there’s much to say), and I know your time is valuable. Please know how much we writers cherish you, our beloved readers.


Watch my Ted Talk:

Watch a talk I gave at Lip Service, in Miami:

Watch NextTribe Editor-in-Chief Jeannie Ralston interview me:

See me quoted in a recent New York Times piece about midlife women and anger:

For more about me, my life, or my work, please see Other Writing; sign up for my Contact list [click here]; friend me on Facebook (where i post more frequently) AND like "Cathi Hanauer Author” (where i post only about writing); or Google the following (most of these now dated, but too good to leave out):

"His and Her Books Tattle on Marriage," The New York Times (Sunday Styles), June 13, 2004

"The Anthology Orgy," by Sheelah Kolhatkar, The New York Observer, February 22, 2005

"They're Mad As Hell," by Kate Muir, The Times Magazine (UK), March 8, 2003

"A Gloom of One's Own," by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Atlantic Monthly, October 2004

"What, Me Angry?" by Sharyn Wizda Vane, The Austin American-Statesman, September 15, 2002

"Meet Attila the Honey," by Caroline Stacey, The Independent Review (UK), March 14, 2003

"The Bastard on the Couch," People, June 7, 2004

Thank you!

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