Top 20 Jews In The Arts- Alice Hoffman

Acclaimed novelist, Alice Hoffman, sits down with Shalom Life for Day 12 of our feature.

Published: April 22nd 2011
in Culture » Books

Alice Hoffman
Hoffman's upcoming novel, The Dovekeepers.

Over the next 20 days, Shalom Life will be presenting the Top 20 Jews In The Arts. One artist will be featured a day from various disciplines including visual arts, acting, writing, comedy, and music.


We sent the participating artists the same 30 questions with instructions to answer all, or just a few. Have fun learning about these fascinating individuals, and please check back daily to compare their answers. Enjoy!




Alice Hoffman


Alice Hoffman, an American novelist and screenwriter, was born in New York City on March 16, 1952. She earned a B.A. from Adelphi University in 1973 and an M.A. in creative writing from Stanford University in 1975 before publishing her first novel, Property Of, in 1977.


She is the author of more than fifteen novels, two books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults. Known for blending realism and fantasy in her fiction, Hoffman often creates richly detailed characters who live on society's margins and places them in extraordinary situations as she did with At Risk, her 1988 novel about the AIDS crisis. Some of her other works include The Drowning Season, Seventh Heaven, The River King, Blue Diary, The Probable Future, and The Ice Queen.


Her book, The Third Angel, won the 2008 New England Booksellers' Award for fiction. Two of her novels, Practical Magic and Aquamarine, were made into films. She has also written numerous screenplays, including adaptations of her own novels and the original screenplay Independence Day.


Hoffman’s upcoming novel, The Dovekeepers, is her “richest, most ambitious novel ever, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel." It will be released in October 2011.


For more information on Alice Hoffman, her novels, and upcoming events, please visit




Where do you go when your lacking inspiration?


Paris, or a bookstore.


Where's your favourite place to travel to?


Again, Paris. But I love New York City.


Do you have any pets? Tell us about them.


One dog, a Polish Sheepdog named Angel.


What's your favourite dish? Where do you normally get it?


Pizza, anywhere.


Who, in your opinion, is the most beautiful person on earth?


The most beautiful person on earth was my grandmother, Lillie.


What's your biggest pet peeve?


People who talk on their phones on trains.


Are you religious? Spiritual? Nothing at all?




What's your favourite movie?


Two For The Road, with Audrey Hepburn.


TV Show?


Buffy the Vampire Slayer.




Laura Nyro.


If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?


I’d be working for an animal rescue society, like the Lange Foundation in LA


Can you offer a piece of advice to aspiring artists?


The more you work at your art, the better you are as an artist.


Who's your best friend?


My dog


What's your biggest regret?


Not spending more time with my mother.


Do you play any sports?


Not seriously.


What are you better at than most other people you know?


Seeing into the future.


What is your biggest weakness?




Do you have any vices?




Is there a quote or motto that you live by?


To try to live each day in the present.


If you could work with a specific person, who would it be?


Oprah Winfrey – she’s fearless and has great taste.


Tell us something about yourself we might be surprised to hear.


My new book The Dovekeepers took me over five years to research and write.


How would you describe your personal style?




What is your favourite song to sing?


I don’t sing!


Where is your primary residence? Do you consider this place "home"?


Boston – it’s my literary home.


Who's your favourite author?


Emily Bronte in the past, Toni Morrison in the present.


Do you watch reality TV?




Do you prefer road trips or flying?




What one word would you use to describe yourself?




What item do you never leave your house without?


Cell phone.


Tea or coffee? From where?


Coffee, from my kitchen.

Related articles: (Alice Hoffman, Dovekeepers, Practical Magic, Aquamarine, Oprah, River King, Buffy the Vampire Slayer )
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