Catherine Newman.

Posted by Sue Leonard on Friday 24th February 2023

Catherine was a bookish, nerdy child – who would rather be at home writing a family newspaper, than out with friends.

            “I had a crazy inner life,” she says, “and I felt so weird and alone.”

After college, Catherine moved to San Francisco with Michael – her future husband – and worked in a series of ‘terrible’ jobs, before going to grad school.

After this, the couple lived in one room in a friend’s house with their first baby, with no money, or prospects. And that’s when they moved home to Massachusetts.

            “And I cobbled together a million writing jobs! I wrote an etiquette column for ten years and did some Ghostwriting of weird projects.”

She’s also written two parenting memoirs, and countless features for publications including the New York Times, The Boston Globe and the Oprah Magazine.

            “And I edit a non-profit kid’s cooking magazine.”

The idea for her debut was sparked when her best friend died in a hospice.

            “But I didn’t write it for another six years – and by then, I’d become a volunteer in a hospice.”

Who is Catherine Newman?

Date of birth: 1968 New York City.

Education: High school, in the Bronx. “It was a brilliant, progressive school where I learned how to think creatively.” Amhurst College, English. University of California, Santa Cruz, PhD in Literature.  

Home: Amherst, Massachusetts.

Family: Husband Michael. Ben 23 and Birdy 20

The Day Job: Part time academic coordinator for the creative writing programme at Amherst College.

In Another Life: “I’d be a nurse. Four years ago, I thought of applying, then realised I wanted to so I could do work I’m already doing as a volunteer.”

Favourite Writers: Miriam Toews; Anne Patchett; Jesmyn Ward; Lily King.  

Second Book: “I’m just finishing it. It’s about reproductive mayhem.”

Top Tip: “I reward myself.  After writing 500 new words, I put a sticker on a chart. It’s very motivational for me.”

Website Instagram. @catherinewman

The Debut: We all want impossible things. Doubleday: €17.99 Kindle: €9.06.

When Edi contracts terminal cancer, Ash throws herself into making her best friend’s last days, in hospice, as joyous as she can. But when must you let go?

The Verdict: A glorious bittersweet tale about family, friendship, death and love. I adored it!

©Sue J Leonard. 2023


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