Current Friars Leaders

2017/18 Friars Leaders

Anita Diamant

Anita Diamant is the bestselling author of the novels The Boston Girl, The Red Tent, Good Harbor, The Last Days of Dogtown, and Day After Night, and the collection of essays, Pitching My Tent. An award-winning journalist whose work appeared in The Boston Globe Magazine and Parenting, she is the author of six nonfiction guides to contemporary Jewish life. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in comparative literature and earned a Master’s in American literature from Binghamton University in upstate New York.

In 1975, she moved to Boston and began a career in journalism, writing for local magazines and newspapers, including the Boston Phoenix, the Boston Globe, and Boston Magazine. She branched out into regional and national media: New England Monthly, Yankee, Self, Parenting, Parents, McCall’s, and Ms. Her feature stories and columns covered a wide variety of topics, from profiles of prominent people and stories about medical ethics, to first-person essays about everything from politics to popular culture to pet ownership to food.

In 1997, Diamant published her first work of fiction. Inspired by a few lines from Genesis, The Red Tent tells the story an obscure and overlooked character named Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob and Leah. The Red Tent became a word-of-mouth bestseller thanks to reader recommendations, book groups, and support from independent bookstores. In 2001, the Independent Booksellers Alliance honored The Red Tent as the “Booksense Best Fiction” of the year. The Red Tent has been published in more than 25 countries world wide, including Australia, England, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. In 2014, the novel was adapted as a two-part, four-hour miniseries by Lifetime TV.

Her new work of fiction is The Boston Girl. Addie Baum is that Boston girl, born in 1900 to immigrant parents who were unprepared for and suspicious of America and its effect on their three daughters. Addie’s intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can’t imagine—a world of short skirts, movies, celebrity culture, and new opportunities for women; a world where women finish high school, go to college, have a career, and find true love. The Boston Girl begins when Addie’s twenty-two year old granddaughter asks, “How did you get to be the woman you are today?”

Anita Diamant is the founding president Mayyim Hayyim, Living Waters Community Mikveh and Education Center in Newton Massachusetts — a reinvention of the ancient Jewish tradition of mikveh, ritual immersion in water.