Adina Hoffman


Adina Hoffman writes of the lives and afterlives of people, movies, buildings, books, and certain city streets.  She is the author of House of Windows: Portraits from a Jerusalem Neighborhood (Steerforth Press and Broadway Books) and My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness: A Poet’s Life in the Palestinian Century (Yale University Press). A biography of Taha Muhammad Ali, My Happiness was named one of the best twenty books of 2009 by the Barnes & Noble Review, one of the top ten biographies of the year by Booklist and won the UK’s 2010 Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize. She is also the author, with Peter Cole, of Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza (Schocken / Nextbook), which was awarded the American Library Association’s Brody Medal for the Jewish Book of the Year. In 2016, Farrar, Straus & Giroux published her Till We Have Built Jerusalem: Architects of a New City, which the Los Angeles Times called “brave and often beautiful” and Haaretz described as “a passionate, lyrical defense of a Jerusalem that could still be.” Her critically acclaimed Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures (Yale University Press) was a finalist for the 2020 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Prize for Biography and was named one of the best paperbacks of 2020 by the Sunday Times, which dubbed it “a revelation.”

Hoffman’s essays and criticism have appeared in the Nation, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the TLS, RaritanBookforum, the Boston Globe, New York Newsday, Tin House, and on the World Service of the BBC. She is formerly a film critic for the American Prospect and the Jerusalem Post and was one of the founders and editors of Ibis Editions, a small press devoted to the publication of the literature of the Levant. She has been a visiting professor at Wesleyan University, Middlebury College, and NYU, as well as the Franke Fellow at Yale’s Whitney Humanities Center. She now teaches a class at Yale each spring, on Writing from the Archive. The recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, she was named one of the inaugural winners of the Windham Campbell prize. She lives in Jerusalem and New Haven.