Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Rachel Cohen  

Pen Name: 

Genre: C:ADULT History Non-Fiction




Illinois Connection

Cohen lives in Chicago. She's a Professor of Practice in the Arts at the University of Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Rachel Cohen started publishing essays after she spent a year driving 19,000 miles around the country, trying to understand what it is to be an American writer, and mostly reading the crates of books she had in her trunk. Since then her essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian, The London Review of Books, The New York Times, The Threepenny Review, The Believer, McSweeney's, and Best American Essays. She writes about the lives of artists and writers, their friendships, discoveries, and reversals. Her three books, Austen Years: A Memoir in Five Novels, A Chance Meeting: Intertwined Lives of American Writers and Artists, and Bernard Berenson: A Life in the Picture Trade have been praised for the way they handle both the inner lives of artists and the external circumstances that have so much to do with how it feels to live a creative life.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- ''Austen Years: A Memoir in Five Novels'', *One of The Globe and Mail's Best Books of 2020 -- ''A Chance Meeting: Intertwined Lives of American Writers and Artists'', *PEN/Jerard Fund Award, finalist for the Guardian First Book Prize, notable book of the year by the LA Times and Maureen Corrigan on NPR