Maud Newton is a writer and critic whose first book, Ancestor Trouble: A Reckoning and a Reconciliation (Random House), will be published March 29, 2022. Her essay on “America’s Ancestry Craze,” a seed of the book, was a Harper’s cover story. Both the book and the essay are outgrowths of her old Weekend Ancestry posts on this site.
Maud has written personal essays, cultural criticism, and fiction. Beyond Harper’s, her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Narrative, the New York Times Book Review, Granta, Bookforum, the Awl, Longreads, Tin House, the Oxford American, Humanities, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Paris Review Daily and many other publications and anthologies, including the New York Times Bestseller, What My Mother Gave Me.
She has discussed ancestry with WNYC, the Dallas Morning News, KERA’s Think, Slate/Future Tense, Wisconsin Public Radio, and PEN. She has also appeared on BookTV, Talk of the Nation, and Radio Open Source.Her Family Tree column for Tin House’s Open Bar was a series of brief, wide-ranging interviews with writers on family history.
Maud received the Narrative Prize for “When the Flock Changed,” an excerpt from a novel-in-progress. Her personal essay, “Conversations You Have at Twenty,” was anthologized in Love is a Four-Letter Word. She was awarded City College’s Irwin and Alice Stark Short Fiction Prize for “Regarding the Insurance Defense Attorney.” Her fiction and essays have been praised by Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, the New Yorker online, Elle, the New York Times, the Paris Review online, and others.
Maud was born in Dallas, grew up in Miami, and graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in English and law. Eventually she moved to Brooklyn, and for the past five years she’s lived on Lenape Land in Queens. She started blogging in May 2002 with the aim of finding others who were passionate about books, culture, and politics, and to establish an informal place 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 London Times, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, the New York Times, the The Guardian, the Telegraph, the The Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News, Poets & Writers Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, the New Yorker, Book Magazine, London’s Evening Standard, the The Scotsman, Slate, the Denver Post, and Canada’s National Post.
Maud has blogged less frequently in recent years but sends her Ancestor Trouble newsletter every month (or so). You can also follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Medium. She maintains a rarely-updated Facebook page. All opinions shared on this site, and in those venues, are her own.