Brenda Wineapple

Brenda Wineapple’s newest book, Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877 (a New York Times "Notable Book" of 2013,a Kirkus Best Nonfiction of 2013, and a Bookpage Best Nonfiction of 2013) combines political and cultural history to tell the complex story of how America faced the crime of slavery--and redefined the meaning of itself as one nation.


Her other books include White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award, a winner of the Washington Arts Club National Award for arts writing, and also a New York Times "Notable Book" (2008); it was also named best nonfiction of 2008 in The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, The Economist, among many other publications. She is also the author of Genêt: A Biography of Janet Flanner; Sister Brother Gertrude and Leo Stein; and Hawthorne: A Life, which received the Ambassador Award for the Best Biography of 2003. She is the editor of The Selected Poetry of John Greenleaf Whittier for the Library of America's American Poets Project and the anthology, Nineteenth-Century American Writers on Writing.


The recipient of a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2014, she was elected a Fellow of the American Society of American Historians in 2014 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012. She's also won a 2009 Pushcart Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, and two National Endowment Fellowships in the Humanities. She regularly contributes to such major publications as The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, and The American Scholar.


Formerly Distinguished Writer-in-Residence and Director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography at The Graduate School, CUNY, Brenda Wineapple has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, in the MFA program at Johns Hopkins University, at New York University, and at Union College as Doris Zemurray Stone Professor of Modern Literary and Historical Studies. She now teaches in the MFA programs at The New School and Columbia University's School of the Arts. She lives in New York City with her husband the composer Michael Dellaira.

Selected Recent Essays and Reviews

The Right Stuff, a review of The Allure of the Archives
The Threepenny Review
Summer 2014

The Price of Slavery
The New York Times Book Review
March 28, 2014

Jellyfish or Fossil? On Louis Agassiz
The Nation
March 6, 2013

Where Credit is Due: 'Marmee & Louisa' and 'My Heart is Boundless'
The New York Times Sunday Book Review
December 21, 2012

Sybille Bedford: Legacies
The Paris Review
March 21, 2011

Podcast interview on White Heat
National Endowment for the Arts
January 11, 2011