Judith Thurman

marlene lopez

(Thurman, Judith) Judith Thurman is the author of Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller, which won the 1983 National Book Award for nonfiction, and Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette, the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Biography and the Salon Book Award for biography. The Dinesen biography served as the basis for Sydney Pollack’s movie Out of Africa. A collection of her New Yorker essays, Cleopatra’s Nose, was published in 2007. Thurman began contributing to the New Yorker in 1987, and became a staff writer in 2000. She writes about books, culture, and fashion. Her story on Yves Saint Laurent was chosen for The Best American Essays of 2003. In addition to articles about the great couturiers of the last century (Chanel, Balenciaga, Schiaparelli), and the avant-gardists of this one (Rei Kawakubo, Isabel Toledo, Alexander McQueen), Thurman has written about performance art (Marina Abramović) and photography (Diane Arbus). Much of her work focusses on the lives of writers, from Flaubert and Margaret Fuller to the graphic memoirist Alison Bechdel. “First Impressions,” her 2008 reportage about the world’s oldest art—the Paleolithic paintings at the Chauvet Cave, in southern France—was the inspiration for Werner Herzog’s film Cave of Forgotten Dreams. She received the Rungstedlund Prize and the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award for prose style, from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.