The Red Tent | Study Guide

Anita Diamant

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Anita Diamant | Biography


Anita Diamant was born on June 27, 1951, in Brooklyn, New York, to Maurice and Helen Diamant. She and her family lived in Newark, New Jersey, until 1963, when they moved to Denver, Colorado. Diamant earned a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature at Washington University and a Master of Arts in Literature at Binghamton University (now SUNY Binghamton).

In 1975 Diamant traveled to Boston and began working as a freelance writer for various journals and newspapers, including the Boston Globe, the Boston Phoenix, and Boston Magazine. Before long she began to write articles for national magazines, such as Parenting and McCall's, covering topics ranging from celebrity profiles to medical ethics. Consistent with her deeply held convictions, she has published six guides to contemporary Jewish life, including The New Jewish Wedding (1985), The New Jewish Baby Book (1988), and Living a Jewish Life: Jewish Traditions, Customs and Values for Today's Families (1991).

In 1991 at age 40, Diamant felt the urge to expand her writing horizons by attempting to write a novel. She was drawn to the story of the biblical figure of Dinah in Genesis 34. The biblical account relates Dinah's rape and its repercussions. The desire to give Dinah a voice inspired Diamant to write The Red Tent, a novel that provides a fictional account of Dinah's life. Diamant spent four years researching and writing the novel, doing this work during her spare time.

She published The Red Tent in 1997 but had doubts about this work reaching a wide audience even though it received positive reviews. Diamant stated, "I was well aware that plenty of published books never find their readers." However, because of strong support by book clubs and excellent word of mouth, the sales of the novel gradually increased. Eventually The Red Tent became a best seller and, in 2001, received the "Booksense Book of the Year" from the Independent Booksellers Alliance. The novel has been published in at least 25 countries, including Australia, England, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, and Spain. In 2014 Lifetime TV adapted The Red Tent into a two-part miniseries.

In 2001 Diamant wrote Good Harbor, a novel about the strength of women's friendships during difficult times. Later she became the founding president of Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh (an educational center of Jewish spirituality and observance) and the Paula J. Brody and Family and Education Center in Newton, Massachusetts. This foundation, which confirms the author's conviction of the importance of women's bonding in Jewish observance, provides a resource for the study, celebration, and creative expression of Jewish spirituality.

Diamant has continued to write novels, including The Last Days of Dogtown (2006), about a rural community in America during the early 1800s, and Day after Night (2009), about female survivors of the Holocaust in a British internment camp. Her 2014 novel The Boston Girl deals with a young woman named Addie Baum, a child of immigrant parents in the early 1900s, and her adjustment to American culture.

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