September 19, 2013

Speaking at the

Rona Jaffe Foundation

Writers’ Awards

New York, NY

November 3, 2013

Cambridge Center for Adult Education

Cambridge, MA

Fall Writers’ Conference

Keynote speaker &

afternoon workshop

November 5, 2013

Reading at

Salem State University

Salem, MA

T O  O R D E R   B O O K S



Barnes & Noble.com


Seven Variations on a Love Story

Best Books of 2012

San Francisco Chronicle


Kirkus Reviews

In these seven beautifully wrought variations on a theme, a series of characters trace and retrace eternal yet ever-changing patterns of love
and longing, connection and loss. The stories range over centuries and continents—from eighteenth-century Vienna, where Mozart and his librettist Da Ponte are collaborating on their operas, to America in the 1940s, where a love triangle unfolds among a doctor, a journalist, and the president’s wife. A race-car driver’s widow, a nursing-home resident and her daughter, a paralyzed dancer married to a famous choreographer—
all feel the overwhelming force of passion and renunciation. With uncanny emotional exactitude, Wickersham shows how we never really know what’s in someone else’s heart, or in our own; how we continually try to explain others and to console ourselves; and how love, like storytelling, is ultimately a work of the imagination.

"This wise and courageous and often brilliant collection of stories, written in clean, precise prose, is not only a pleasure to read, but also breaks new ground in our perceptions of what a short story can be. Like William Trevor, who also expanded the boundaries of short fiction, Joan Wickersham writes about love in many varieties . . . . What Wickersham has done here should not be underestimated. The News From Spain is a wonderfully imaginative and original book that should be cherished now, as surely as it will be cherished in the future by anyone interested in the evolution of the American short story."

            Roberta Silman, The Boston Globe (read the full review)

“[W]hen love begins to writhe and ferment, spread its inescapable fingers, when it does its hard work of forming real behavior, these are the realms Wickersham inhabits, finding the unlit fissures, the whispers of solace and grieving, betrayal and delusion, quotidian and ecstatic in language of infinite elegance. . . . [T]he reader's mind [becomes] so full of Wickersham's roiling moods and tender characters, her trenchant truths, her careful and divine prose, that her word is law. She has made you wonder at the exquisite, tremulous tension in everything, the insatiable hungers for all kinds of connection, especially the connection to oneself.”

            –Susanna Sonnenberg, The San Francisco Chronicle

                      (read the full review)

“An ode to heartbreak and regret. . .Wickersham's gift is for capturing the habits of mind that lead even smart people to deceive themselves...her book makes you slow down and listen, and then watch for people to reveal themselves.”

                    New York Times Book Review

“Joan Wickersham makes a triumphant return to fiction with The News From Spain. This collection of tales draws forth a fascinating cast of characters…These stories are bound together by the universal search for companionship and understanding…Wickersham articulates subtleties of human behavior that ordinarily elude language altogether; she unveils her characters’ unacknowledged thoughts and emotions in a terse style that defies cliché in its commitment to realism. Wickersham paints everyday yet complex portraits of love, filigreed with truths that resonate.”

                      – Catherine Straut, Elle

“Elegantly structured, emotionally compelling…Wickersham dissects the human heart with precision and restraint that make her work all the more moving. Short stories don’t get much better than this.”

                      – Kirkus Reviews, Best Books of 2012 (read the full review)


“As much love as there is in this story collection, a lot of it goes unreturned. Wickersham shows how the difficult road of one-way affection can be a lot more interesting than something shared; she lends new dignity to pining. . . . How do you get over something that never happens? ‘You are able to keep your feelings mostly hidden; occasionally they cough, or break a dinner plate,’ Wickersham writes. ‘At night they have the run of the house.’”

                      – Susannah Meadows, New York Times

“In each of these seven piercing stories, Joan Wickersham reveals uncanny and complex parallels that occur when very different people love each other under very similar circumstances. . . The doubts and tenderness they share with each other . . .are excruciating—in the best ways, ones that only the finest fiction can create, because you, the reader, feel as much or more than anyone on the page.”

                    – Leigh Newman, Oprah.com “Book of the Week”

                       (read the full review)

The News From Spain evokes hidden topographies of need, and the emotional tipping points that occasionally break through the surface.”

                      – Megan O’Grady, Vogue.com

“I was entranced by Joan Wickersham’s The News from Spain, an achingly sensitive exploration of love through seven stories.”

                      – BookPage, “2012: A banner year for short stories”

“Joan Wickersham’s The News from Spain is a kaleidoscopic view of the subject of love. It is amazingly perceptive psychologically, a gorgeous, completely original work. I loved it. As soon as I finished it, I began to read it again.”

                      – André Gregory, director and actor

                         My Dinner With André and Vanya on 42nd Street

“Joan Wickersham has done it again: astonished, enchanted, and moved me, this time in an unorthodox yet classically insightful collection of stories. While each one takes the reader to a world distinctly and alluringly its own, all seven tales come together at the end in a shimmering constellation. Like Alice Munro at her best, Wickersham sees almost too well how the choices we make in our many relationships--with parents, spouses, lovers, teachers, friends; even a chance acquaintance--steer our lives in unpredictable, sometimes shocking ways.”

                      – Julia Glass, author of Three Junes and The Widower’s Tale

“Joan Wickersham's brilliant The News From Spain shows, in all its twisty beauty, what a short story collection can do. The stories are gorgeous in themselves, but the way they speak to each other is truly extraordinary.”

                     – Elizabeth McCracken, author of

                       An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

“Heart-rending . . . . [D]ecoding love’s lessons preoccupies all of Wickersham’s characters, from the daughter who falls into a devastating affair while caring for her dying mother, to the young girl who watches her favorite teachers’ marriage collapse in scandal. . . . Complex and world-weary, Wickersham’s characters move through life with a quiet intensity. Love comes at unexpected times and places—if you only listen hard enough.”

                     – Mythili Rao, The Daily Beast (read the full review)

“Joan Wickersham’s well-mannered characters control their responses to disappointment with outward finesse, which makes their heartbreak all the more potent. An expert in the he-and-she of it, Wickersham turns the most exquisitely particular truths into universals. I wondered how on earth she could possibly follow The Suicide Index. Well she has. The News from Spain is brilliant.”

                     Patricia Volk, author of Stuffed and To My Dearest Friends

“Wickersham does a lovely job of painting a picture of love in its many shades. Each story is so exquisitely rendered that the characters come to life, filling its few pages with enough intimate knowledge of their lives to support a novel. . . . As language and characters unfold throughout The News from Spain, Wickersham shows that she is a master of the written word and storytelling in all its forms.”

                    Carla Jean Whitley, BookPage

Joan Wickersham’s The News From Spain rearranges the same handful of elements to create innovative combinations, examining the different paths that lead to heartbreak. . . .Wickersham’s keen insight and observation of the human heart are at once intimate and universal.”

                    – Leah Harrison, Charleston, SC Post and Courier

“Desire is literature’s great subject, and yet so rarely can a writer come close to describing the real thing. In The News from Spain, Joan Wickersham has achieved something miraculous: seven prismatic stories that refract the lonely, marvelous, terrible complexity of human longing. Radiant with insight.”

                     – Suzanne Berne, author of

                        A Crime in the Neighborhood, winner of the Orange Prize

“Love – and all its messy, gorgeous, decimating complications – animates this brilliantly conceived collection of stories. With astonishing acuity, Wickersham illuminates not only our passions but also our abiding consolations.”

                     – Dawn Raffel, author of

                        The Year of Long Division and The Secret Life of Objects