Sue Kaufman: Biography

Sue Kaufman

07 aug 1926

Sue Kaufman was an American author born in Long Island, New York in 1926. She is best remembered for her novel Diary of a Mad Housewife.

Kaufman attended Vassar College, a liberal arts college in Poughkeepsie, New York, graduating with her degree in 1947. She met her husband, Jeremiah Abraham Barondess, shortly after she graduated and they married in 1953, with Kaufman giving birth to their son shortly afterwards.

Whilst studying toward her degree at Vassar, Kaufman performed some editorial work. She continued with this once she had graduated and eventually went on to write her own stories. She had pieces of writing published in several different magazines and journals, including the Saturday Evening Post, The Paris Review and the Atlantic Monthly. Her first novel, The Happy Summer Days, was published in 1959.

Diary of a Mad Housewife was actually her third novel and was published in 1967. It was turned into a film starring Carrie Snodgress as the frustrated housewife who features as the protagonist of the book. It earned Snodgress an Oscar Nomination for Best Actress and won her the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a leading role.

Sue Kaufman died at her home in Manhattan in 1977, aged just 50 years old. She had been struggling with a long illness and she eventually lost her battle. In her memory, a literary prize was established and named after her. The Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction is an award worth $5,000 which is given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters to the best first novel or first collection of short stories in a year.