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.