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Acocella at the National Book Critics Circle award nominations

Joan Acocella (née Ross, born 1945) is an American journalist who is a staff writer for The New Yorker,[1] writing about dance and books. She has written books on dance, literature, and psychology.

Education and careerEdit

Acocella received her B.A. in English in 1966 from the University of California, Berkeley. She earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature at Rutgers University in 1984 with a thesis on the Ballets Russes.

Acocella has written for The Village Voice,[2][3] has served as a senior critic and the reviews editor for Dance Magazine, and was the New York dance critic for the Financial Times. Her writing also appears regularly in the New York Review of Books. She began writing for The New Yorker in 1992 and was appointed dance critic in 1998.[1]

Her books include Creating Hysteria: Women and Multiple Personality Disorder (1999); Mark Morris (1993), a biography of modern dancer and choreographer Mark Morris[4]; and Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints (2007), which explores the virtues common among extraordinary artists.[5][1] She also edited The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky: Unexpurgated Edition (1999), André Levinson on Dance (1991), and Mission to Siam: The Memoirs of Jessie MacKinnon Hartzell (2001),[1] her grandmother.

Her New Yorker article "Cather and the Academy," which appeared in the November 27, 1995 issue, received a Front Page Award from the Newswomen’s Club of New York and was included in the “Best American Essays” anthology of 1996.[1] She expanded the essay into Willa Cather and the Politics of Criticism (2000).

Awards and honorsEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Joan Acocella". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  2. ^ "My Kind of Town: New York". Retrieved 2016-07-20.
  3. ^ "(untitled interview)" (PDF). National Arts Journalism Program. p. 5. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  4. ^ Rockwell, John (January 23, 1994). "The Big Hairy Guy of Dance". The New York Times. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  5. ^ Harrison, Kathryn (February 18, 2007). "Lives in the Arts". The New York Times. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  6. ^ "2017 Literature Award Winners – American Academy of Arts and Letters". Retrieved 2017-06-11.
  7. ^ "The New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers Announces 2017-2018 Fellows". The New York Public Library. Retrieved 2017-06-11.
  8. ^ "Past Fellows – American Academy". American Academy. Retrieved 2017-06-11.
  9. ^ "Joan Acocella – American Academy". American Academy. Retrieved 2017-06-11.
  10. ^ "Joan Acocella". New York Institute for the Humanities. Retrieved 2017-06-11.

External linksEdit