Susan Fromberg Schaeffer (March 25, 1940 – August 26, 2011)[1] was a noted novelist and poet who was a Professor of English at Brooklyn College for over thirty years. She won numerous national writing awards and contributed book reviews for the New York Times.

Education & Family

The daughter of wholesale clothier Irving and Edith (née Levine) Fromberg, Susan Fromberg was born in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from Long Island's South Side High School in 1957. In the Fall, she enrolled at the University of Chicago, where she earned her Bachelors in 1961, Masters in 1963, and her Doctorate in 1966. The subject of her dissertation was a study of themes in the writings of Vladimir Nabokov, in whom she found “the most intellectual novelist to write in English since James Joyce”.[2]

After returning to New York City, she married a fellow English Professor, Neil Jerome Schaeffer (A Columbia University graduate, Chairman of the English Department at Brooklyn College, and a noted scholarly author in his own right) in 1970; they had two children, Benjamin (born 1973), and May (born 1977).[3][4]


As of 2007, her published work included 14 novels, a collection of short stories plus others, 6 volumes of poetry and two children’s books.[5] She contributed frequently to the New York Times Book Review and had a number of scholarly articles on writing published in journals. Her most recent project, "Memories Like Splintered Glass" is her first memoir.[6]

Her second novel Anya was based mainly on the biography of Anya Savikin Brodman, to whom Schaeffer gave only passing credit until an accommodation was reached after acrimonious public encounters between the author and her subject.[7]


  • Falling, New York, Macmillan, 1973.
  • Anya, New York, Macmillan, 1974.
  • Time in Its Flight, New York, Doubleday, 1978.
  • Love, New York, Dutton, 1981.
  • First Nights, New York, Knopf, 1983.
  • The Madness of a Seduced Woman, New York, Dutton, 1984.
  • Mainland, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1985.
  • The Injured Party, New York, St. Martin's Press, 1986.
  • Buffalo Afternoon, New York, Knopf, 1989.
  • Green Island, Penguin Books, 1994.
  • The Golden Rope, New York, Knopf, 1996.
  • The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat, New York, Knopf, 1997.
  • The Snow Fox, W.W. Norton, 2004.
  • Poison, W.W. Norton, 2006.

Short Stories

  • The Queen of Egypt, New York, Dutton, 1980.
  • "In the Hospital and Elsewhere," in Prairie Schooner (Lincoln, Nebraska), Winter 1981-82.
  • "Virginia; or, A Single Girl," in Prairie Schooner (Lincoln, Nebraska), Fall 1983.


  • The Witch and the Weather Report, New York, Seven Woods Press, 1972.
  • Granite Lady, New York, Macmillan, 1974.
  • The Rhymes and Runes of the Toad, New York, Macmillan, 1975.
  • Alphabet for the Lost Years, San Francisco, Gallimaufry, 1976.
  • The Red, White, and Blue Poem, Denver, The Ally, 1977.
  • The Bible of the Beasts of the Little Field: Poems, New York, Dutton, 1980.

Children's Books

  • The Dragons of North Chittendon, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1986.
  • The Four Hoods and Great Dog, New York, St. Martin's Press, 1988.

Career & Personal Life

After earning her master's degree and while working on her Ph.D., Fromberg instructed English at Wright Junior College in Chicago. She then began teaching at the Illinois Institute of Technology and became an assistant professor of English after receiving her doctorate. She moved back to New York City in 1967 as an assistant professor at Brooklyn College, becoming an associate professor in 1972, then professor of English in 1974. In 1985, she was named Broeklundian Professor at Brooklyn College. She retired from Brooklyn College in 1997. After retirement, she and her husband Neil, lived at their second home in Vermont full-time until 2002. In 2002, they returned to Chicago, living there temporarily until they sold their Brooklyn property and moved to Chicago permanently in 2004.[5] Schaeffer was a visiting Professor at her alma mater, the University of Chicago from 2002-2009, teaching fiction and creative writing before illness forced her to stop teaching in March, 2009. After a long illness, she died on August 26, 2011, and is survived by Neil, Benjamin and May.[8]



  1. ^ "Susan Fromberg Schaeffer obit: Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, author of 14 novels, dead at 71". Chicago Tribune. 2011-08-28. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  2. ^ Myers, D.G.: "Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, 1940–2011" Commentary magazine, August 31, 2011
  3. ^ "SCHAEFFER, Susan Fromberg". Novelguide. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  4. ^ Holocaust Literature: Lerner to Zychlinsky, index - S. Lillian Kremer - Google Books. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  5. ^ a b "Susan Fromberg Schaeffer Biography - York, Life, Novel, and Anya - JRank Articles". Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  6. ^ "Cnf Articles : Schaeffer - Author". Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  7. ^ S. Lilian Kremer. Holocaust Literature: Lerner to Zychlinsky. Taylor & Francis, 2003.
  8. ^ "University of Chicago Visiting Scholars in the Humanities". Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  9. ^ "Susan Fromberg Schaeffer Author Bookshelf - Random House - Books - Audiobooks - Ebooks". Random House. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  10. ^ "Writer Susan Fromberg Schaeffer has died". 2011-08-29. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  11. ^ "The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories". Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Chicago Life". Retrieved 2012-01-14.