Lizzie Skurnick
Contact Info
  Lizzie Skurnick
Baltimore, MD 

Work Samples
(The Baltimore Sun, 9/18/2005)
When an established author updates a classic, it's generally considered bad form to spend the great majority of your reading sniffing out salient "Aha!" moments. But On Beauty, Zadie Smith's third novel, a vigorous homage to Forster's Howards End, not only invites, but demands, such sniffing.
(The Baltimore Sun, 8/28/2005)
When we begin Bobbie Ann Mason's An Atomic Romance - the author's first book in a decade-the life of hero Reed Futrell, ladies' man, chemistry buff, and outdoor enthusiast, is, both metaphorically and literally, up in the air.
(The Baltimore Sun, 8/21/2005)
Bret Easton Ellis needs no introduction. Not because his first novel, Less Than Zero, was a “zeitgeist touchstone"...
(The Baltimore Sun, 5/1/2005)
In the sizable acknowledgments section of this debut short-story collection, it is safe to say that only the dentist has been cast out of the warm circle of the author's gratitude.
(New York Times Book Review, 4/10/2005)
A story that rides on its own melting also runs the risk of dissolving entirely. In William Henry Lewis’s second collection of short fiction – his first, ‘’In the Arms of Our Elders,'’ was published by Carolina Wren Press a decade ago – the slow, lyric stories of love, loss and longing have a sensuo
(The Baltimore Sun, 2/15/2005)
The author whose biography nearly mirrors that of her protagonist plays a dangerous game. Memories have as good a chance as imaginings to bloom into a successful piece of fiction, but a novel in which circumstances and characters are readily identified can seem like a half-hearted memoir...
(The Urbanite, 2/15/2005)
Ask Anne Watts where the name of her semi-jazzy, semi-post-punk, neo-cabaret and altogether homegrown Charm City band Boister comes from, and her answer is simple. “We’re loud,” she says.
(Urbanite, 2/1/2005)
It’s not the junk food that’s killing you. Not the ozone layer. Not that you don’t jog three miles a day, take enough vitamins, or know what your Qi is, much less how to balance it....
(The New York Times Book Review, 1/30/2005)
Few activities are as likely to bring on a fit of depressive jealousy as leafing through the back pages of one’s alumni magazine...
(NYTBR, 10/24/2004)
It might not seem possible – to say nothing of advisable – to write a comic novel about Sept. 11 and its aftermath, but that’s what Arthur Nersesian has given us with ‘’Unlubricated,'’ his sixth novel, an urban caper about a would-be actress…
(Washington Post Book World, 8/22/2004)
The telling moment in Justin Cronin's debut novel, the 2002 PEN/Hemingway award-winning Mary and O'Neil, occurs when the female half of the title heads out to terminate an unplanned pregnancy. Struck by the absence of a demonstration in front of the clinic, Mary Olson asks the receptionist, who is b
(Baltimore City Paper, 8/18/2004)
“Your destiny unfolds in different and sometimes exciting ways when you have to move somewhere,” says author and Roland Park resident Sujata Massey, whose best-selling series starring the half-Japanese, half-American antiques enthusiast and sometime snoop Rei Shimura has garnered the prestigious Aga
(The New York Times Book Review, 5/23/2004)
ALICE RANDALL is a literary meddler. Her previous book, a best-selling remix called ''The Wind Done Gone,'' reframed Margaret Mitchell's classic novel from the point of view of Scarlett O'Hara's invented mulatto half sister. Many critics hated the book; Mitchell's estate sued, claiming that Randall
(Washington Post Book World, 4/4/2004)
According to Shoemaker & Hoard's press release for Our Savage, the manuscript arrived in their offices "unagented, by an unknown author, and including only a modest letter that read 'I hope you enjoy my book.' " It's a likely story: A Google search on author Matt Pavelich yields only a snail's trail
(The New York Times Book Review, 3/28/2004)
In the fall of 1996, Jerry Leath Mills published an essay in The Southern Literary Journal asserting that the sole characteristic linking all Southern literature -- the signifier, in academic parlance -- was a dead mule. There is no dead mule in ''The Darkest Child,'' the first novel from a Cleve
(New York Times Book Review, 1/18/2004)
Beware of the story that comes bearing many typefaces. While an aggressive use of italics and exclamation points is the intrepid writer's prerogative, in the case of the two-time Booker Prize finalist Patrick McCabe's eighth novel, ''Call Me the Breeze,'' these graphical distractions, along with...
(Baltimore City Paper, 12/24/2003)
Sun War Correspondent Dan Fesperman Crosses From Fact to Fiction Again With His Latest Crime Novel, "The Small Boat of Great Sorrows"...In November 2001, longtime war correspondent Dan Fesperman was, as usual, in the hot spot. Covering the conflict in Afghanistan for The Sun, he was riding lead in a
(, 10/10/2003)
The first woman editorial-page editor at The New York Times writes a book about American women—and talks about Jayson Blair.
(Baltimore City Paper, 9/10/2003)
A Sex-Soaked, Candy-Colored, Indiscreet Romp Through the Hottest Gal Tales of the Season....The trouble began, as it always does, with a Helen. I'm referring, of course, to Helen Fielding, author of 1997's Bridget Jones's Diary. Perhaps you've heard of it? It was only 271 pages long, but the publis
(Baltimore City Paper, 8/20/2003)
Author Laura Lippman Takes a Break From Heroine Tess Monaghan With Every Secret Thing, "The Most Hard-Boiled Book to Ever Begin With A Barbie Doll." ...There's a line Baltimore crime writer Laura Lippman likes to quote about the ultimate mystery buff's movie, Chinatown. It was uttered by Dennis Leh
(, 7/1/2003)
The former literary agent on his writing, his lectures, and the art of blowhard-ism...We generally think of a literary agent as kind of behind-the-scenes power broker, someone aggressively guarding his unlisted phone number while toiling to bring unrecognized talent to the shelves of the local Barne
(Baltimore City Paper, 6/18/2003)
For the Most Important Holiday Most Americans Don't Observe, Activist Morning Nyemah Sunday Hettleman Brings Juneteenth to the People...Quick--what's Juneteenth? The hottest day of the year? A new show on the WB? The ceremonial testing of the July 4th fireworks? Actually, it's none of the above, alt
(, 6/6/2003)
Cosmo's editor—now a two-time murder-mystery author—talks about writing, editing, and the art of the title...Since becoming editor-in-chief of the venerable Cosmopolitan in 1998, she has ramped up Hearst's flagship to become the best-selling women's magazine in the world. Before taking the reins at
(, 6/3/2003)
The Boston Globe's "Ideas" editor on the death of Lingua Franca, not going to grad school, and the calm of crushing deadlines...In October 2001, when a key financial backer pulled out, Lingua Franca, the venerated—and mercifully jargon-free—magazine of academia, closed its doors forever. Helming the
(Baltimore City Paper, 5/28/2003)
Former Baltimore Jewish Times editor Arthur Magida explores murder, mystery, and faith in his true-crime book The Rabbi and The Hit Man...One Tuesday night in the fall of 1994, in well-to-do cherry Hill, N.J., a husband came home from work to find his wife's bludgeoned, lifeless body lying in a grow
(Baltimore City Paper, 4/23/2003)
On the Road With ZZ Packer, Talking About her New Book, her Hopkins Days, Dave Eggers, and the Onslaught of Literary Celebrity...Budding writers, take note: Being a literary "it" girl isn't all it's cracked up to be. When I catch up with ZZ (short for Zuwena) Packer, she's speeding down the highway
(Baltimore City Paper, 4/9/2003)
Most of us think of a movie as a two-hour experience we locate on Moviefone, pay $10 to see, then watch while munching toxic popcorn. But the Baltimore leg of the touring Backseat Film Festival, a “promotions and distribution entity that provides hope for projects that would otherwise go unseen, unh
(, 4/1/2003)
The newly ubiqitous cultural critic on her career, Tina and Harvey, and believing in synergy...Two years ago, the only people who recognized Virginia Heffernan's name were those lucky enough to count her as an editor, friend, or colleague. But since then, she burst onto the scene with force, writing
(Baltimore City Paper, 3/26/2003)
Anyone who remains unacquainted with the media's relentless fascination with the Single Woman can be brought up to speed quickly with the mention of a few titles. Why There Are No Good Men Left. The Bachelorette. Ally McBeal. Bridget Jones's Diary. The Rules. The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing.
(Baltimore City Paper, 2/12/2003)
Pornography has historically been the stuff of plain brown wrappers and back-alley bookstores--books thumbed through and passed around as furtively as a joint. But since "erotica" has entered the storied realms of Barnes & Noble and the Book-of-the-Month Club, pornographers have gotten something of
(Baltimore City Paper, 9/5/2002)
People have only one response to hearing that I write for Sweet Valley, the young-adult book (and, briefly, television) series featuring the adventures of twin golden girls Jessica and Elizabeth. This response crosses all class, race, and age lines (except for the one marking off childless men witho
This is the sound of denunciation: "The apartment I want is still being held by a Jew from Vienna!" Blustering, cruel, enraged, pompous – denunciation is always with us in one form or another, from Salem to Stalin to McCarthy. It thrives under select repressive regimes, ones that encourage practices
It began in March with two novels – Dorothy Allison’s Cavedweller and Russell Banks’s Cloudsplitter. As if in imitation, other books joined within weeks: Earthsong, Backtalk, and Homeport. In the following months, publishers flooded bookstores with Starswarm, Deadville, Downtick, Greentown, Dreamgat
(Book-of-the-Month Club Online)
Cigarettes 1 (counts as 1/2 as cadged off co-worker), cups of coffee 1 (excellent; will conquer insomnia as read in Self), turkey burgers successfully eaten for L-tryptophan to reverse spell of jitters set on by Coke sipped to make up for appallingly low amount of caffeine absorbed in morning 1, num
(New York magazine, 10/23/2004)
No one would ever mistake Alice Munro for an author of delicate sensibilities. (In “Carried Away,” from 1994’s Open Secrets, a man plucks a recently decapitated head off a factory floor.) Still, a grim streak runs through Munro’s new collection, Runaway, greater than the physical carnage of her earl
(, 8/27/2003)
You probably already know to check out THE OFFICE—plus BBC demihits WHAT NOT TO WEAR and COUPLING—before our American network execs spaz them up with glossy sets and laugh tracks. But BBC America has a few more little bits of a'right worth TiVoing before the Stepford clones hit basic cable. The firs
(Baltimore City Paper, 4/30/2003)
As befits the creator of a media empire that includes Court TV, The American Lawyer magazine, and the now defunct Content magazine, Steven's Brill's After is a sprawling work that draws on innumerable sources to explore the psychological, financial, political, and legal aftermath of the Sept. 11 ter
(Baltimore City Paper, 4/16/2003)
Anne Frank's literary executors can rest easy: Those seeking an insider's view on despotic regimes will be unmoved by Nuha al-Radi's Baghdad Diaries, which chronicle the travails of an Oxford-educated, upper-class artist living under Saddam Hussein. This is not to say the book does not have its mome
(Baltimore City Paper, 4/16/2003)
Noah Feldman's After Jihad, a primer for peacefully bringing democracy to the Islamic world, has been rather crudely pre-empted by President George W. Bush's more aggressive tactics. Nevertheless, Feldman--a professor of law at New York University, scholar of Islam, and Orthodox Jew--still brings va
(The Take)
Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood; Naomi Wolf; Random House/$23.00 * Last Night in Paradise: Sex and Morals at the Century's End; Katie Roiphe; Little, Brown/$21.95 * Been There, Haven't Done That: A Virgin's Memoir; Tara McCarthy; Warner Books/$22.00
(CALYX Journal)
Toe-the-line feminists and white patriarchal media magnates alike receive a good-natured thrashing in Where The Girls Are, Susan J. Douglas’ exploration of the schizophrenic treatment of women in the media from the 1950’s to the present. Where The Girls Are is a little less strident than your averag
Young Adult Fiction  
(Bantam Books for Young Readers, 12/9/2004)
SOPHOMORE YEAR. HARDER classes. Nicer dorms. Stronger friendships. And Sydney Bristow’s biggest mission yet: retrieve top-secret KGB research in Berlin. But someone else is on the job. Someone people keep confusing with Sydney.
(Random House , 7/8/2003)
How do you top the story of Sydney joining a sorority? Why, with a Michael Vaughn tell-all, of course. Sydney's handler-slash-love-interest anchors the fifth installment in this solid, young-adult prequel series for the hit ABC TV show. Agent Vaughn certainly came to Alias with his share of mysterie
(Bantam, 10/9/2001)
From Ebony's journal: My identical twin sister and I are total opposites. Meaning, I'm way popular and she's so not. How is this possible? I'm friendly, flirty, and don't spend every second buried in a textbook. She's Miss Mathematics (and Miss Headband--hello?--of Hughley High). But here's what's r
(Bantam, 6/12/2001)
Is it time to go home? What is Jessica doing in England? She claims she can explain everything and that it's time for Elizabeth to come home. Elizabeth doesn't know what to think. She can't leave Max. Not now, not after they . . .
(Bantam, 4/13/2001)
He's engaged to someone else. Elizabeth is falling in love. With Max. Heir to the earl's fortune. Fiance to a duchess. (Do people like this really exist?) They're completely different. But there's something there.
(Skylark, 12/12/2000)
From the journal of Chloe Murphy: The most popular guy at SVU is finally mine--for real this time! But he's making me keep it a secret. Hello? What's the point of dating Tom Watts if no one knows about it?
(Skylark, 11/1/2000)
From the journal of Jessica Wakefield: You'll never guess who I ran into today. He's even hotter than he was three years ago. And this time it's me he wants. Devon Whitelaw is finally mine--all mine!
(Bantam , 7/11/2000)
Everybody's shocked by Elizabeth's new love . . . especially Jessica. Neil won't tell a soul his summer plans . . . does he have something to hide? Chloe and Nina friends? Weirder stuff has happened . . . like what's going on behind closed doors at the duplex.
(Skylark, 11/9/1999)
The night of the winter dance is a big deal for all the students at Riverside High, yet this year, the dance will have a major impact on three couples and will change their lives in more ways than they could have imagined. Original.
(, 4/16/2003)
It was Thursday; the book was due Monday. There were 8,000 words down, 32,000 to go. The book would not pay much, but the book was due. There was only one thing to be done. Something else. Why do writers procrastinate? If I were interested in the answer, I would pony up my own opus on the subj
(Mediabistro, 3/19/2003)
It seems so natural now, the merger of laptop and latte. But once upon a time, in that long-ago era before fresh Arabica was dispensed even at Kentucky strip-malls (by which, of course, I mean the mid-1990s), the comfortable connection was still an intimidating, edgy idea. I should know: I was there
(Caketrain Books, 8/1/2005)
Winner of Caketrain Journal’s 2004 Chapbook Competition.