Daniel Mendelsohn Interview
Daniel Mendelsohn is an internationally bestselling author, critic, essayist, and translator. Born in New York City in 1960, he received degrees in Classics from the University of Virginia and Princeton. After completing his Ph.D. he moved to New York City, where he began freelance writing full time; since 1991 he has been a prolific contributor of essays, reviews, and articles to many publications, most frequently The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. He has also been a contributing editor at Travel + Leisure and a columnist for The New York Times Book Review, Harper’s, and New York magazine, where he was the weekly book critic. In February 2019, he was named Editor-at-Large of the New York Review of Books and the Director of the Robert B. Silvers Foundation, a charitable trust that supports writers of nonfiction, essay, and criticism.
Mendelsohn’s books include An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic (2017), named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Newsday, Library Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, and Kirkus; The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million (2006), which won the National Books Critics Circle Award and the National Jewish Book Award in the United States and the Prix Médicis in France; a memoir, The Elusive Embrace (1999), a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year; three collections of essays; a scholarly study of Greek tragedy, Gender and the City in Euripides’ Political Plays (2002), and a two-volume translation of the poetry of C. P. Cavafy (2009), which included the first English translation of the poet’s “Unfinished Poems.” His tenth book, Three Rings: A Tale of Exile, Narrative, and Fate, will be published in September 2020.
Daniel Mendelsohn’s honors include the American Academy of Arts and Letters Harry Vursell Prize for Prose Style, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Barnes and Noble Discover Prize, the NBCC Citation for Excellence in Book Reviewing, the George Jean Nathan Prize for Drama Criticism, and Princeton University’s James Madison Medal. A member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Association, he sits on the Board of the American Council of Learned Societies and teaches literature at Bard College.