Mimi Schwartz - Books & Articles
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Creative Nonfiction

Good Neighbors, Bad Times Book CoverGood Neighbors, Bad Times:
Echoes of My Father’s German Village
Mimi Schwartz grew up on hamburgers and French fries—and her father’s boyhood stories. She rarely took them seriously. What was a modern American teenager supposed to make of a German village where, according to her father, “everyone got along” before Hitler? It was only years later, when she heard the story of the Torah’s rescue in 1938 by Christians in the village, that Schwartz became interested in her father’s old world. And so began a twelve-year quest that covered three continents as she sought answers to how good neighbors, on the sidelines of history, managed during Nazi times. How, this book asks, do people maintain a modicum of decency when fear and hatred strain the bonds of loyalty and neighborly compassion?

Q&A about Good Neighbors, Bad Times

Available at amazon

Thoughts Book CoverThoughts from a Queen-Sized Bed
In this startlingly funny and honest book, Mimi Schwartz describes what it means to be a partner in a long marriage. She writes with a keen and amused eye about growing up in an immigrant family, coming of age in New York in the 1950’s, marrying her high school beau, and then arriving at feminist consciousness in the 1970’s like so many others of her generation. But unlike many of her contemporaries who left first marriages for independence, Schwartz stayed loyal to her marriage. Schwartz’s essays are wise and warm without being sentimental, and the characters in her world are quirky, charming, well rounded, and complex. Read more...

Available at amazon

Book CoverWriting True:
The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction
A guide to those who want to write about the real world with voice, passion, and the power of story-telling. Filled with strategies, exercises, and wonderful anthology of contemporary creative nonfiction, it offers writers of all levels fresh options for writing memoir, personal essays, profiles, family history, and literary journalism. Co-authored with Sondra Perl. Read more...

Available at amazon

Short Works

Small Decencies
adapted from Good Neighbors, Bad Times

In 1938, while synagogues burned all over Nazi Germany, a Torah was saved in my father’s German village. Not by the Jews, but by their Christian neighbors. I saw it almost fifty years later in a Memorial Room in Israel, built by Jews who fled after that night, Kristallnacht, and started again a continent away. I can still hear the old man in a kibbutz cap, saying: “Ja, Nazi hoodlums from outside, from Sulz, came to destroy the synagogue, but the Christians decided to save what they could for the Jews. And so we have this still!” Read the entire essay.

The Power of the Cap
--from Thoughts from a Queen-Sized Bed (first appeared in Brevity)

I used to drive defensively through thirty miles of back roads on my way to work. In a land of pick-up trucks and long-finned, rusty Cadillacs, if I overtook, or tailgated, or flicked my brights too often, I could get the finger. Or an angry male might speed up, so I couldn't pass in time to avoid an oncoming car without braking hard into retreat--or heading for the graveled shoulder.  Read the entire essay.

Telling the Truth that Matters
from Arts & Letters, Journal of Contemporary Culture

When creative nonfiction writers tell a story more than one way, readers get suspicious. “Well, which is true?” they ask, as if you’ve betrayed nonfiction and “creative” really means fiction.  Not so if you are Edouard Manet, I decided at the Museum of Modern Art, standing before his three giant paintings of the execution of the Emperor Maximilian of Mexico in 1867.  Each canvas included a firing squad, rifles taking aim, and one man looking away, but other “facts” and the mood they evoked kept changing. Read the entire essay


“Lessons for a Last Day”- Pangyrus

“What’s in a Name, Really?” 

“A Vine of Roses” – Post Road

“In the Land of Double Narrative" - Tikkun

“If You are Absolutely Certain, I Get Suspicious" - TriQuarterly


Good Neighbors, Bad Times

"A vivid portrayal of good neighbors who experienced the worst of times that tested themselves and each other and that scattered fragments of the truth..to the four corners of the earth, seemingly waiting for one fine writer to unite them."
-Michael Berenbaum, author of The World Must Know

“Schwartz’s excellent presentation defies categorization. It has some elements of journalism, autobiography, history, reporting, feature writing, and literature. All these components are creatively combined to result in an eminently readable product that grips the reader’s attention. Schwartz has augmented our limited capacity to comprehend the Holocaust, which is ultimately an incomprehensible phenomenon.”
—Morton I. Teicher,
National Jewish Post & Opinion.

Thoughts from a Queen-Sized Bed

“A queen-size bed may sound roomy, but when it is shared by a couple married for 40 years ...such a bed becomes a place where thoughts — on love, negotiating a long partnership, motherhood, staying faithful — and memories flow powerfully.”
--The New York Times

Writing True

"Indispensable for anyone drawn to trying his or her hand at creative nonfiction…a great choice for classrooms, writing groups, and the desktops of writers exploring the genre on their own."
—Lynn Powell, Oberlin College

"I’d like to take my phone off the hook, plug in an automated “Out of the Office” email message, and take this book with me…for a one-month island writing retreat.” –Stephanie Paterson, Cal State University