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Winner of the New American Fiction Prize 


Now out!
Book Displaced Persons_Nobinder.png

"Breathtaking." NY Journal of Books

Exciting news! 

DISPLACED PERSONS has been selected as Hadassah’s One Book, One Hadassah choice for August! Register here to join a virtual conversation between Joan and Hadassah Executive Editor Lisa Hostein on AUGUST 22 at 7 PM (ET). Free & open to all!

"This book is beautiful and wonderfully readable. I loved it."

Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love

"A stunning collection of literary excellence."

   Weike Wang, author of Chemistry and Joan is Okay

"Elegant and heartbreakingly true stories." 

    Eileen Pollack, author of Maybe It's Me: On Being the Wrong Kind of Woman

“Few writers see so deeply into their characters’ lives. Prepare to feel a shock of recognition.”   

     Dawn Raffel, author of Boundless as the Sky

PRESS  podcasts  essays

REVIEWS of Displaced Persons

"Breathtaking...characters so fully and compassionately drawn it's hard to remember they exist only in a story." NY Journal of Books

“Deeply affecting... gorgeous tales of wandering Jews.” Hadassah

"A page-turn­ing col­lec­tion with vivid char­ac­ters whose loves, fears, and expe­ri­ences will be relatable to read­ers." Jewish Book Council

"Leegant's talent for dialogue, swift characterization of complex human lives, and the many resentments and allegiances that tangle a family’s dynamics are on wonderful display.” Kirkus 


"A treasure of expertly crafted dramas that probe the eternal themes of belonging and the quest for meaningful relationships." Jewish Journal 

"An especially timely glimpse into life both in Israel and the United States." Bookchase

"Deliciously complex stories that explore exile, belonging, parenthood, and marriage, often with a sharp sense of humor and emotional wallop." Chicago Review of Books

"Displaced Persons lets us think about the lives of others with nuance and compassion. " Tel Aviv Review of Books

"Spare, elegant prose that packs a host of punches." Jewish News Syndicate

"One of the things literature has the power to do is give us a mirror...Displaced Persons is exactly the sort of mirror we might consult in our present moment. Reading Jewish Fiction

"Prophetic...Leegant ponders both the Jewish and Israeli experiences." Times of Israel

"Aside from elegant and accomplished writing, what grabbed me about these stories, especially the ones set in Israel, especially now, is the window into ordinary life." Vol. 1 Brooklyn 

"Funny and harrowing...addresses issues of Jewish identity with complexity." Foreward Reviews


New Books Network with G.P. Gottlieb. Joan on writing about motherhood, illness, and how fiction provides a window into how life is really lived. Listen here.

Cantina Book Club. Joan on writing by association and uncovering what's really behind a story. Listen here.

Commentaries from the Edge. Joan on how fiction reveals the truth and the urgency to make repair in relationships before it's too late. Listen here.

Living the Next Chapter. Joan on putting together a story collection, why write, and what fiction can tell us about life that nonfiction can't. Listen here.

New England Review Outloud. Joan on the writing process. "Let the sentences guide you. Just trust the page." Listen here.


"Why I Marched on Washington for the First Time in 50 Years." The Forward

"But How Are You Managing?" Paper Brigade Daily, Jewish Book Council


Joan Leegant's story collection, Displaced Persons, won the New American Fiction Prize. The judge was Weike Wang. Joan's first collection, An Hour in Paradise, won the PEN/New England Book Award and the Wallant Award, and was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. She is also the author of a novel, Wherever You Go, named a "Significant Jewish Book" by the Union of Reform Judaism.


Formerly a lawyer, from 2007 to 2013 Joan was the visiting writer at Bar-Ilan University outside Tel Aviv where she also gave talks on American literature and culture under the auspices of the U.S. Embassy and was a volunteer ESL teacher for African refugees and asylum seekers. She has taught at Harvard, Oklahoma State, and Cornish College in Seattle where she was the writer-in-residence at Hugo House. She is a graduate of Harvard and Boston University Law School and for many years played keyboard in a klezmer band. She lives outside Boston. 


Boston Hadassah Tikvah Chapter

Monday, June 17, 2024, 1:30 PM

Westbury Memorial Library, Westbury, NY (virtual)

Thursday, June 20, 2024, 7 PM. VIRTUAL. Register here.

Temple Ahavat Achim, Gloucester, MA

Wednesday, July 17, 2024, 7 PM 

One Book/One Hadassah, virtual talk with editor Lisa Hostein

Thursday, August 22, 2024, 7 PM (ET) on Zoom. Register here.

Jewish Federation of Binghamton, NY

Sunday, September 8, 2024, 10:30 AM

Temple Beth-El, Ithaca, NY

Sunday, September 8, 2024, 7 PM

Congregation Agudat Achim, Schenectady, NY

Monday, September 9, 2024, 7:30 PM

Union College, Schenectady, NY

Tuesday, September 10, 2024, lunch talk

Jewish Federation of Western Mass, Springfield, MA

Wednesday, September 11, 2024, time TBD

Wellfleet Public Library, Wellfleet, MA

Thursday, September 12, 2024, 7 PM

Temple Israel, Portsmouth, NH

Sunday, September 15, 2024, 10:30 AM

Congregation Beth Israel, Worcester, MA

Co-sponsored with the Worcester JCC

Tuesday, September 17, 2024, 7:30 PM

Temple Emanuel, Newton, MA

Thursday, September 19, 2024, 8 PM

Hadassah, Connecticut Region, W. Hartford, CT

Sunday, September 22, 2024, noon

Am HaYam Havura, Orleans, MA

Thursday, September 26, 2024, 11 AM

Temple Beth Torah, Holliston, MA

Tuesday, October 22, 2024, 6:30 PM

Temple Beth Abraham, Nashua, NH

Saturday, October 26, 2024, noon

Congregation B’nai Israel, Northampton, MA

Sunday, November 3, 2024, 10:30 AM

Or Hadash, Fairfield, CT

Sunday, November 3, 2024, 3 PM

Congregation Emanu-El, Rye, NY

Monday, November 4, 2024, lunch talk

Jewish Community Center of Harrison, Harrison, NY

Monday, November 4, 2024, 7:30 PM

Beth El, New Rochelle, NY

Tuesday, November 5, 2024, 11:30 AM

JCC Mid-Westchester, Scarsdale, NY

Wednesday, November 6, 2024, lunch talk

Temple Israel Center, White Plains, NY

Wednesday, November 6, 2024, 7 PM 

Community Synagogue, Rye, NY

Thursday, November 7, 2024, 11 AM 

Greenburgh Hebrew Center, Dobbs Ferry, NY

Thursday, November 7, 2024, 7:30 PM

Temple Israel, Boston, MA

Sunday, November 10, 2024, 11 AM

Israel American Council, Newton, MA

Thursday, November 14, 2024, 7:30 PM

Temple Emanu-El, Haverhill, MA

Sunday, November 17, 2024, 10 AM

Temple Beth Elohim, Acton, MA

Sunday, November 17, 2024, 7 PM

The Emanuel Synagogue, West Hartford, CT

Sunday, November 24, 2024,  11 AM

Temple Beth Zion (TBZ), Brookline, MA

Thursday, December 5, 2024, 7:30 PM

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, Chester, CT

Sunday, December 8, 2024, 1 PM

East Brunswick Jewish Center, East Brunswick, NJ

Tuesday, December 10, 2024, 7 PM

Temple Aliyah, Needham, MA

Sunday, December 15, 2024, 10 AM


Displaced Persons

Wherever You Go

An Hour in Paradise

My Books


Send me a message via the contact box below or direct your media and speaking inquiries to my publicist,
Julia Borcherts: Julia(at)kayepublicity(dot)com. 773.878.0722


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