Cynthia Ozick is considered one of the country’s outstanding literary figures. She has excelled in writing novels, short stories, essays and being a critic.
She was born in New York City on April 17, 1928. She was the second of two children of Celia and William Ozick, who were the owners of Park Vew Pharmacy in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx.
When she was five and a half years old, her grandmother took her to “heder,” where Jewish children went for Jewish religion instruction. The rabbi told her grandmother, in Yiddish, “Take her home, a girl doesn’t have to study.”
He grandmother insisted that she attend and she brought her all the time to the “heder.” The rabbi soon learned that she had a wonderful head and was quick to learn.
It was difficult for her growing up in the Bronx because of anti-Semitism. Children would throw stones at her for being a Christ killer. In public school, she refused to sing Christmas carols, as she found it degrading.
Ozick graduated Hunter College High School and received a degree from New York University. She earned a master’s degree from Ohio State University. In 1952, she married Bernard Hallote, who was a lawyer, and they moved back to New York.
Ozick has been recognized many times for her writing. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts. She has received several honorary doctorates and delivered the Phi Beta Kappa Oration at Harvard University.
She was the recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award.
The following is a partial listing of her works:
The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories (1971)
Bloodshed and Three Novellas (1976)
Levitations: Five Fictions (1982)
Art and Ardor (1983)
The Cannibal Galaxy (1983)
The Messiah of Stockholm (1987)
Metaphor & Memory (1989)
The Shawl (1989)
Blue Light (1994)
A Cynthia Ozick Reader (1996)
Fame and Folly Essays (1996)
The Shawl (1996)
The Puttermesser Papers (1997)
Heir to the Glimmering World (2004) published in the United Kingdom as The Bear Boy (2005)
The Din in the Head Essays (2006)
Cynthia Ozick can be an inspiration and model for anybody wanting to become a writer.