Long Story Short
Bill Deresiewicz [də-REH-zə-wits; rhymes with "Jesuits"] writes about books, higher education, culture, politics, and anything else he can get away with. His forthcoming book is Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life, to be published in August by Free Press. He is the author of A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter (2011), which is under development as a television series. He is a Contributing Writer for The Nation and a Contributing Editor for The New Republic and The American Scholar, for which he wrote the All Points blog on culture and society from 2011-2013. His essays and reviews have also appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Slate, Bookforum, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New Yorker online, and The London Review of Books.
Bill received the 2013 Hiett Prize in the Humanities from The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. He was nominated for National Magazine Awards in 2008, 2009, and 2011 and won the National Book Critics Circle’s Nona A. Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing for 2012, having been a finalist on three previous occasions. David Brooks gave one of his essays a “Sydney” award for magazine writing in 2010. Bill's work, which has been translated into fifteen languages, has been anthologized in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011 and The Digital Divide: Writings For and Against Facebook, YouTube, Texting, and the Age of Social Networking. It has also been reprinted in The Utne Reader, Lapham's Quarterly, and over twenty college readers. He is a frequent speaker on college campuses, and his essay “Solitude and Leadership” has been taught across the US military, in the corporate world, at schools of business, and at the Aspen Institute. In 2013, he served as a William F. Podlich Distinguished Fellow at Claremont McKenna College; in 2015, he will occupy the Mary Routt Endowed Chair of Writing at Scripps College. Not that he’s bragging or anything.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Bill was an English professor at Yale from 1998-2008, where he taught courses in modern British fiction, the Great Books, Indian fiction, and writing. He is the author of Jane Austen and the Romantic Poets (Columbia UP, 2004) and of academic articles on Austen, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, and Joseph Conrad. He received his Ph.D. and a few other degrees from Columbia. (Fun fact: his college major was biology-psychology.) His separation from academia was a mutual decision.
While in graduate school, Bill also worked as a dance critic, believe it or not. His reviews appeared in Dance Magazine, The Village Voice, and the quarterlies DanceView and Dance Ink. From 1996-98 he was the New York Dance Correspondent for The Financial Times, which is an actual position.
Bill grew up in an Orthodox Jewish community in suburban New Jersey before fleeing to New York for college. His hobbies include reading, books, and literature. He lives in Portland, Oregon, which surprises him as much as you.