A co-founder with Gloria Steinem of Ms. Magazine, a mass market feminist alternative to traditional women’s media, Pogrebin also has contributed hundreds of articles and op-eds to a wide variety of print publications, including The New York Times, The Nation, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Newsday, Ms., Harpers Bazaar, Family Circle, MORE, Travel & Leisure, as well as online media such as Huffington Post and Forward.com.
Among Pogrebin’s ten books are, most recently, Three Daughters, a novel, and Getting Over Getting Older, and Deborah, Golda, and Me, both memoirs. She is also the author of Family Politics, Among Friends, Growing Up Free, Getting Yours, and How To Make It In A Man’s World. She is the editor of Stories for Free Children, and served as the Editorial Consultant on Marlo Thomas’ award-winning children’s projects, Free To Be, You and Me, and Free To Be A Family.
Pogrebin was born to an American Jewish family and grew up in Jamaica, New York. In 1952, she became one of the first girls to celebrate a bat mitzvah in Conservative Judaism. When her mother died of cancer in 1955, Pogrebin was prevented from saying the Kaddish, the traditional memorial prayer, because women were not counted in the minyan, the quorum of ten required for public prayer. She has retroactively traced her feminist awakening to this experience of exclusion at a moment of great personal anguish and vulnerability.
She graduated from Jamaica High School at age 16, and from Brandeis University at 19, earning a B.A. cum laude with Distinction in English and American Literature. In her first career in the book publishing business, she worked her way up to become Vice President at Bernard Geis Associates, a small New York publishing house where she was known for her creative promotion campaigns for authors such as Jacqueline Susann, Helen Gurley Brown, Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, and Brendan Behan. She became an author herself and a full-time professional writer when her first book, How To Make It In A Man’s World was published in 1970 to rave reviews.
Besides her ten published books and hundreds of articles Pogrebin’s essays have been included in more than 30 anthologies and textbooks. Her latest book, How To Be A Friend To A Friend Who’s Sick, was inspired by her recent experience with breast cancer during which she became fascinated by her friends’ reactions to her after they knew her diagnosis. She subsequently interviewed more than 80 sick and formerly-sick people about their experiences – what their friends said and did that was useful and comforting, and what was not useless, annoying, or hurtful. The result is a book that combines memoir and practical advice that can enhance a patient’s relationship with family and friends during times of stress and suffering.
Letty Cottin Pogrebin is well known for her advocacy journalism and her activism on behalf of women’s equality, authors’ rights, peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and inter-group understanding. She is a past president of The Authors Guild, a past president of Americans for Peace Now, and a current board member of many organizations including the Ms. Foundation for Education and Communication, the Director’s Council of the Women in Religion Program at the Harvard Divinity School, and the Women and Gender Studies Program at Brandeis University, and The Authors Guild. She was a co-founder of several inter-faith and inter-ethnic dialogue groups, among them a Black-Jewish Dialogue group that met for a decade, and a Palestinian-Jewish Dialogue group that has been convening monthly for the last four years.
She is a co-founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Ms. Foundation for Women, the Free to Be Foundation, and the International Center for Peace in the Middle East, and several other organizations, task forces, and dialogue groups dedicated to building harmony between blacks and Jews, and between Palestinians and Jews.
Pogrebin has been honored for her more than forty years of writing and activism on women’s rights and the advancement of Middle East peace. In 1969 and 1976, she was named an “Outstanding Young Woman of America,” and in 1974 she earned an Emmy Award for her contribution to Free to Be...You and Me. She has received awards from organizations ranging from Women in Communications, to the National Council on Family Relations, to the Women’s League for Israel, which gave her its “Woman of the Year Award” in 1989. She has also received the “Gloria Steinem Women of Vision” Award and earned Elle magazine Readers’ Prize in 2002. Pogrebin is listed in nearly a dozen Who’s Who volumes including Who’s Who in America,; Who’s Who of American Women; Who’s Who in American Jewry; Who’s Who of Writers, Editors and Poets; Who’s Who of International Authors and Writers; and the World’s Who’s Who of Women.
Letty Cottin Pogrebin has been married since 1963 to Bertrand B. Pogrebin, an attorney specializing in Labor and Employment Law. They have three grown children – Abigail Pogrebin an author, Robin Pogrebin, a New York Times reporter who covers culture, and David Pogrebin, who works in the restaurant and hospitality business. Pogrebin and her husband also have six grandchildren. They live in New York City.
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♥ Olivia, for Journey Of Young Women