Helene Wecker is an American author who was born and raised in a small town near Chicago, Illinois. She attended Carleton College Minnesota, where she studied for a BA in English. When she graduated, she lived in Minneapolis and Seattle, working in marketing and communications roles before she made the decision to enrol on a fiction Master’s at Columbia University. Her first novel, The Golem and the Jinni was published in 2013.
The idea for the novel came from a series of short stories which Wecker wrote during her time at Columbia. The inspiration came from experiences and traditions which she, an American Jewish girls, and her husband, an Arab American, had had in their family lives. Helene Wecker said that she was struck by the similarity between her and her husband’s experiences, despite being from very different, and often opposing, cultures. She and her husband both experienced the strange sense of both belonging and distance which comes from being the child of an immigrant. It is this feeling which forms the central theme for her novel, but instead of simply being from different cultures, Wecker decided to give these characters a fantastical twist. The novel follows the story of a Golem and a Jinni who come to New York with the flux f immigrants during the 19th century. It is a historical novel with fantastical elements.
Helene Wecker now lives in San Francisco with her husband and their daughter. She is currently working on the sequel to The Golem and the Jinni.