S. L. Wisenberg

Apr 4, 2023

The Wandering Womb

Essays in Search of Home

University of Massachusetts Press 2023

Today I talked to S. L. Wisenberg about her book The Wandering Womb: Essays in Search of Home (U Massachusetts Press, 2023).

As a child, S. L. Wisenberg worried about being outside, not being able to breathe, and Nazis coming through the window of her Houston home. In this remarkable collection of essays, she recalls chasing popularity, taking a Neiman Marcus sponsored class about fashion at age eleven. She tells funny but poignant stories about her travels in Paris, Vienna, and Poland, including a numbing visit to Auschwitz. In one essay Wisenberg searches through family records and history books and conducts interviews to learn more about Selma, Alabama, where her great grandparents ended up after leaving Lithuania. In another she describes going through sorority rush when she’s twenty-nine and teaching at the university. This is a moving, sometimes hilarious exploration of love, life, history. As the reviewer in the Southern Review of Books wrote,” This luxe tapestry of stories and ideas creates a vivid image of Wisenberg as a woman, as Jewish, and as a thinker in the world…. This book is at once intellectual, deeply personal, and delightful.”

S.L. Wisenberg is the author of a fiction collection, The Sweetheart Is In; the essay collection Holocaust Girls: History, Memory & Other Obsessions; and a chronicle, The Adventures of Cancer Bitch. She has received a Pushcart Prize, and awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Illinois Arts Council, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. The former co-director of the MA/MFA program at Northwestern University, she has taught workshops and read and lectured widely. Wisenberg lives in Chicago, where she edits Another Chicago Magazine. When she's not writing, she's walking through her Chicago neighborhood, fixing a stir-fry, or collecting grocery lists that people leave behind.

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