Alice Hoffman: Biography

Alice Hoffman

16 mar 1952

Alice Hoffman was born in New York City in 1952. She graduated from her high school in Long Island in 1969 and went on to study at Adelphi University. In 1974 she was awarded an MA in Creative writing from Stanford University.

Hoffman’s unique stamp of magical realism which runs through most of her books comes from a love of fairy tales. She has said in interviews that as a child she thoroughly enjoyed reading fairy tales and fantastical stories. Her grandmother was Russian, so classic Russian tales such as Baba Yaga also had a huge influence on her work. She explained that it is the matter-of-fact tone and the way that anything can happen in a fairy tale without it needing to be explained as strange or different that really appealed to her. This has come to be a big influence in her own writing and the way that her literary universes incorporate the magical into the real.

Alice Hoffman has become one of America’s most diverse and prolific living novelists. She has now published 23 novels in total, along with 3 books of short stories and short fiction and 8 titles for young adults. She has also dabbled in screenwriting, having written the script for the 1983 film Independence Day. A few of her novels, including Practical Magic and The River King, have been adapted for screen by other people. At Risk, one of her most notable works, focuses on a family living with AIDS and the consequences of the disease. It’s hard-hitting subject matter and beautiful writing has put it on many an academic reading list, even more than 20 years after its initial publication.