Joan Zlotnick

Joan Zlotnick

A graduate of Brooklyn College, I received my M.A. from The CUNY Graduate Center and my Ph.D. from New York University, where I specialized in American literature. With the exception of two years when I was employed as an editorial assistant and occasional feature writer for the New York Journal American, I spent most of my adult life as a professor of English at my alma mater, Brooklyn College. Not surprisingly, most of my writing during those years was academic. During my husband's illness, my focus began to change as I recognized the therapeutic effects of writing about the ordeal we were going through. I kept a journal and, after his death, published Griefwriting, a Kindle novel which draws on my experience not only as a caregiver and widow but also as an academic. It also incorporates the stories of those I encountered in caregiving and, later, bereavement support groups. Set on an urban college campus, it brings together a group of people, who, as I did, find healing and hope through writing about their grief. The cycle continues, with many reporting that reading the book has been therapeutic for them as well, making them feel less alone and validating their experiences and feelings. These responses have encouraged me to reach out to the bereaved in other ways as well. I had a blog for several months and posted articles on Seeds4Life, The Drabble, Kveller, and Kindnessblog. All of these efforts allow me to draw something positive from the most devastating experience of my life, which is both comforting and life-affirming.


Turning Grief into Good

Four years into widowhood, I’m astounded at how entrenched I’ve become in the grief community. I would have guessed that when my husband died, after twelve years of struggling with […]

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