Elizabeth Drew Professor of English Language and Literature
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Carole DeSanti ’81 has come back to Smith after a long career in the publishing world. As a senior book editor at Viking Penguin, she worked to achieve critical and commercial success for her authors while also standing as an advocate of original, progressive and marginalized voices, including a range of feminist and LGBTQ+ authors, writers of color and representatives of nontraditional points of view. She worked with Dorothy Allison on the contemporary classic Bastard out of Carolina; with Ruth Ozeki ’80 on the award-winning A Tale for the Time Being; with Melissa Bank on the genre-transforming stories of A Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing; with Terry McMillan, the first African American novelist to “break through” to mainstream recognition; with Lan Cao on her groundbreaking works about the Vietnamese American refugee experience; with Marisha Pessl on the daring Special Topics in Calamity Physics; and with Deborah Harkness on A Discovery of Witches and its sequels. She also brought to a wide audience the works of many other fiction writers as well as authors working in areas like health and wellness, psychology and spirituality, the creative process and memoir.
DeSanti’s own first novel, The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R., was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2012. She has been profiled in Poets & Writers, The Advocate and Psychology Today, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Guardian, The Women’s Review of Books and other publications. She serves on the creative advisory councils of Aspen Words and Hedgebrook, and is at work on a second novel, Plunder: The Exploits & Adventures of the Notorious Pyrates Anne Bonny and Mary Read.
DeSanti’s courses include the Advanced Fiction Workshop and the Intermediate Fiction Workshop.