Maud Newton is a writer, critic, editor, and occasional speaker and teacher. Her first book, Ancestor Trouble: A Reckoning and a Reconciliation (Random House), is a best book of 2022, according to The New Yorker, NPR, The Washington Post, Time, Esquire, The Boston Globe, Garden & Gun, Entertainment Weekly, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Chicago Tribune. It was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection and Roxane Gay Book Club selection, and a finalist for the 2023 John Leonard Prize, awarded by the National Book Critics Circle for a first book in any genre. Ancestor Trouble has been called “a literary feat” by the New York Times Book Review and a “brilliant mix of personal memoir and cultural observation” by the Boston Globe, and praised by Oprah Daily, NPR, Vanity Fair, Vulture, the Los Angeles Times, Wired, and many other publications.
Newton’s work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Slate, the Guardian, Esquire, Narrative, Harper’s Bazaar, the New York Times Book Review, Oxford American, Time, the Wall Street Journal, Curbed, Granta, and many other publications and anthologies, including Best American Travel Writing 2015 and the New York Times bestseller What My Mother Gave Me. She is a recipient of the Narrative Prize, and the Stark Short Fiction Prize. She has been a Yaddo resident.
She has discussed the importance of individual acknowledgments of ancestors’ complicity in larger cultural harms with with NPR’s All Things Considered, the New York Times Book Review podcast, American Ancestors (New England Historic Genealogical Society), WNYC, and many others. Among other lectures and visiting writer conversations, she was featured in the Pittsburgh Contemporary Authors Series, was a visiting writer at Butler University, and participated in “Ancestor Trouble: A Religious and Political Dialogue” with Rabbi Tamar Manasseh for UC Davis Jewish Studies/Religious Studies. Her fiction has been praised by the New Yorker online.
Newton was born in Dallas, grew up in Miami, and graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in English and law. She has lived in New York City since 1999.
In May 2002, she started blogging, with the aim of finding others who were passionate about books, culture, and politics, and to write about her life and family. Within a few years, her site had been praised, criticized, and quoted in the New York Times Book Review, Forbes, New York Magazine, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Wall Street Journal, Poets & Writers, and the New Yorker, among many others. Newton blogs less frequently nowadays but sends her Ancestor Trouble newsletter every month (or so). You can also follow her on Instagram, Bluesky, and Medium. She maintains a Facebook author page. All opinions shared on this site, and in those venues, are her own. (Her Twitter account, where she at one time had more than 200,000 followers, is now dormant.)
Her agent is Julie Barer of The Book Group. Maud is a nickname. Her pronouns are she/her. She is married to the artist Maximus Clarke and has a stepdaughter, two dogs, and three cats. She acknowledges that she lives on the land of the Lenape people.