New York Times Bestselling Author
- All My Favorite Things: A Craft Talk
- How to Carve Out a Creative Life for Yourself
- An Evening with Jami Attenberg
“Jami Attenberg is undoubtedly a writer’s writer and a phenomenal talent. There is so much beauty in her craft; a tenderness present even on the sentence level. A compelling literary treasure, Attenberg is a real wonder.” —Kristen Arnett
“Prickly and unsentimental, but never quite hopeless, Attenberg. the poet laureate of difficult families, captures the relentlessly lonely beauty of being alive.” —Kirkus, starred review
“Dazzling.” —Publisher’s Weekly
Jami Attenberg is the author of seven books of fiction, including: Instant Love, The Kept Man, The Melting Season, The Middlesteins, Saint Mazie, and All Grown Up. Her most recent novel is All This Could Be Yours (2019), which was included on the Best of Fall lists from People, Vogue, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, New York, Observer, Bust, Nylon, New York Post, Pop Sugar, and more. She is also the author of 1000 Words: Stay Creative, Focused, and Productive
All Year Long, an inspirational book based on her grassroots literary movement, “1000 Words of Summer.” The book includes thoughts on the creative lifecycle and the craft and art of writing, as well as original letters of advice and support from dozens of authors.
Attenberg’s memoir I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home (2022), a brilliant, fierce, and funny memoir of transformation. Attenberg—described as a “master of modern fiction” by Entertainment Weekly and the “poet laureate of difficult families” by Kirkus Reviews—reveals the defining moments that pushed her to create a life, and voice, she could claim for herself. What does it take to devote oneself to art? What does it mean to own one’s ideas? What does the world look like for a woman moving solo through it? Exploring themes of friendship, independence, class, and drive, I Came All This Way to Meet You is an inspiring story of finding one’s way home—emotionally, artistically, and physically—and an examination of art and individuality that will resonate with anyone determined to listen to their own creative calling.
About All This Could Be Yours, Emma Cline, author of The Girls, says, “Jami Attenberg’s work is so deeply attuned to humans and our imperfect attempts to love each other. All This Could Be Yours is populated by Attenberg’s pitch-perfect characters; flawed, recognizable people dealing with big topics–death, family, sex, love–and Attenberg handles it all with an expert touch and a keen sense of what, despite all the sadness and secrets, keeps people connected, striving for moments of beauty and tenderness in a dark world.”
Attenberg has written about food, travel, books, relationships and urban life for The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, the Sunday Times, Slate, and others. Her work has been published in a total of sixteen languages.
She lives in New Orleans, LA.
Jami Attenberg is the author of seven books of fiction, including: Instant Love, The Kept Man, The Melting Season, The Middlesteins, Saint Mazie, and All Grown Up. Her most recent novel is All This Could Be Yours (2019). She is also the author of the memoir I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home (2022). Attenberg has written about food, travel, books, relationships and urban life for The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, the Sunday Times, Slate, and others. Her work has been published in a total of sixteen languages. She lives in New Orleans, LA.
I Came All This Way To Meet You
From New York Times bestselling author Jami Attenberg comes a dazzling memoir about unlocking and embracing her creativity—and how it saved her life.
In this brilliant, fierce, and funny memoir of transformation, Jami Attenberg—described as a “master of modern fiction” (Entertainment Weekly) and the “poet laureate of difficult families” (Kirkus Reviews)—reveals the defining moments that pushed her to create a life, and voice, she could claim for herself. What does it take to devote oneself to art? What does it mean to own one’s ideas? What does the world look like for a woman moving solo through it?
As the daughter of a traveling salesman in the Midwest, Attenberg was drawn to a life on the road. Frustrated by quotidian jobs and hungry for inspiration and fresh experiences, her wanderlust led her across the country and eventually on travels around the globe. Through it all she grapples with questions of mortality, otherworldliness, and what we leave behind.
It is during these adventures that she begins to reflect on the experiences of her youth—the trauma, the challenges, the risks she has taken. Driving across America on self-funded book tours, sometimes crashing on couches when she was broke, she keeps writing: in researching articles for magazines, jotting down ideas for novels, and refining her craft, she grows as an artist and increasingly learns to trust her gut and, ultimately, herself.
Exploring themes of friendship, independence, class, and drive, I Came All This Way to Meet You is an inspiring story of finding one’s way home—emotionally, artistically, and physically—and an examination of art and individuality that will resonate with anyone determined to listen to their own creative calling.
All This Could Be Yours
From critically acclaimed New York Times best-selling author Jami Attenberg comes a novel of family secrets: think the drama of Big Little Lies set in the heat of a New Orleans summer.
“If I know why they are the way they are, then maybe I can learn why I am the way I am,” says Alex Tuchman of her parents. Now that her father, Victor, is on his deathbed, Alex—a strong-headed lawyer, devoted mother, and loving sister—feels she can finally unearth the secrets of who Victor is and what he did over the course of his life and career. (A power-hungry real estate developer, he is, by all accounts, a bad man.) She travels to New Orleans to be with her family, but mostly to interrogate her tight-lipped mother, Barbra.
As Barbra fends off Alex’s unrelenting questions, she reflects on her tumultuous life with Victor. Meanwhile Gary, Alex’s brother, is incommunicado, trying to get his movie career off the ground in Los Angeles. And Gary’s wife, Twyla, is having a nervous breakdown, buying up all the lipstick in drugstores around New Orleans and bursting into crying fits. Dysfunction is at its peak. As family members grapple with Victor’s history, they must figure out a way to move forward—with one another, for themselves, and for the sake of their children.
All This Could Be Yours is a timely, piercing exploration of what it means to be caught in the web of a toxic man who abused his power; it shows how those webs can entangle a family for generations, and what it takes to—maybe, hopefully—break free. With her signature “sparkling prose” (Marie Claire) and incisive wit, Jami Attenberg deftly explores one of the most important subjects of our age.
For more than 30 years, Edie and Richard Middlestein shared a solid family life together in the suburbs of Chicago. But now things are splintering apart, for one reason, it seems: Edie’s enormous girth. She’s obsessed with food – thinking about it, eating it – and if she doesn’t stop, she won’t have much longer to live.
When Richard abandons his wife, it is up to the next generation to take control. Robin, their schoolteacher daughter, is determined that her father pay for leaving Edie. Benny, an easy-going, pot-smoking family man, just wants to smooth things over. And Rachelle – a whippet thin perfectionist – is intent on saving her mother-in-law’s life, but this task proves even bigger than planning her twin children’s spectacular b’nai mitzvah party. Through it all, they wonder: do Edie’s devastating choices rest on her shoulders alone? Or are others at fault, too?
With pitch-perfect prose, huge compassion, and sly humor, Jami Attenberg has given us an epic story of marriage, family, and obsession. The Middlesteins explores the hopes and heartbreaks of new and old love, the yearnings of Midwestern America, and our devastating, fascinating preoccupation with food.
But we don’t give up. We keep trying. We’re either too stupid to learn from our mistakes or we honestly believe that the next time will be different; it’s hard to say which. Driven by the mad hopefulness that is part of the human condition, we are constantly falling in and out of love with a slightly different version of the person who came before. Jami Attenberg chronicles those exact moments with heartbreaking realism in her powerful debut, Instant Love.
Told through the eyes of three young women and their friends and lovers, Instant Love explores what it means to be in love, what it means to be lonely, and what it means to be both at the same time. Holly turns to computer dating to find love even as she thinks wistfully of a former boyfriend who loved her well and fed her ice cream. Maggie recounts the story of her one crazy summer to her disbelieving husband and feels the distance between them grow wider than the void across their king-sized bed. And Sarah Lee remembers the one who got away and the one she ran away from, all the while moving toward the one she can actually love.
As Holly, Maggie, and Sarah Lee move through the rituals of modern love, they have to decide who is worth taking a chance on in a world where things don’t fall into place easily, people are often difficult, and disappointment is the rule. Through their stories, Attenberg presents a rare, honest look at love.
Articles & Audio
Read What’s In Print
• When Williamsburg Was On The Wrong Side Of The River by Jami Attenberg – The New Yorker
• Review of I Came All This Way To Meet You by Jami Attenberg – Kirkus Reviews
• The Meaning of an Examined Life in Jami Attenberg’s Memoir – Chicago Review of Books
• Jami Attenberg and Bernardine Evaristo on chronicling the grit behind their glamorous careers – Entertainment Weekly
• Jami Attenberg’s Memoir Is a Portrait of the Artist as a Born Writer – New York Times
• “I’m Gonna Die if I Have to Write Another One of These.” Why Jami Attenberg Switched to Memoir – LitHub
• In All This Could Be Yours, A Day In The Death Of A Toxic Narcissist – NPR
• Review: As a Father Lies Dying, His Family Reckons With Their Troubled Legacy – New York Times
• Where I’ve Laid My Head by Jami Attenberg – The Rumpus
• The Hit Writer: Jami Attenberg Interviewed by Elena Sheppard – The Rumpus
• Jami Attenberg: ‘We tend to blame our parents for too long’ – The Guardian
Listen to Audio
• Interview with Jami Attenberg – Reading Women Podcast
• Read How Working at a Bookstore Changed My Writing Career by Jami Attenberg – LitHub
• Read Stop Reading My Fiction as the Story of My Life by Jami Attenberg – New York Times
• Letter of Recommendation: Hysterectomies by Jami Attenberg – New York Times