Discipline: Literature – fiction

Moriel Rothman-Zecher

Discipline: Literature – fiction
Region: Yellow Springs, OH
MacDowell Fellowships: 2017, 2020

Moriel Rothman-Zecher is a novelist and poet. His first novel, Sadness Is a White Bird (Atria Books, 2018), received the National Book Foundation's '5 Under 35' honor, and was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the winner of the Ohioana Book Award, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, the winner of the Cincinnati Books by the Banks Author Award, and long-listed for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize. While at MacDowell in 2017, Rothman-Zecher worked on the final draft of Sadness Is a White Bird, and wrote a new poem, entitled "Wetland," which was published in The Common in 2018. During his 2017 residency, he also began work on a new novel, inspired in part by a bilingual volume of Modern Yiddish Poetry, edited by 1965 MacDowell Fellow Ruth Whitman.

In residence in 2020, Moriel worked on a final round of major revisions of his second novel. It follows two Yiddish-speaking immigrants from their fictional shtetl in Eastern Europe to Philadelphia of the 1930s, where they connect with a Black ghostwriter and translator, and the three of them seek to navigate America's nightmarish racial and sexual politics. The novel is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


Phi Beta

Moriel Rothman-Zecher worked in the Phi Beta studio.

Funded by the Phi Beta Fraternity, a national professional fraternity of music and speech founded in 1912, Phi Beta Studio was built between 1929–1931 of granite quarried on the MacDowell grounds. The small studio is a simple in design, but displays a pleasing combination of materials with its granite walls and colorful slate roofing. Inside is…

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