photo: John Earle

Leah Hager Cohen was born in Manhattan and raised at the Lexington School for the Deaf in Queens and in Nyack, New York. At 16, she left home to study theater at NYU, transferring a year later to Hampshire College, where she was allowed great freedom to practice reading, writing, and unfettered inquiry. After college, she worked variously as assistant to the director of African-American Studies at Yale, sign language interpreter, and children’s bookstore employee. She crossed the continent by Greyhound Bus three times, then enrolled at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she began what became her first book, Train Go Sorry.


Her ten books include the nonfiction works Glass, Paper, Beans and I Don’t Know and the novels No Book but the World and The Grief of Others. A frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review, she also writes the blog Love as a Found Object, which she started upon learning her mother had ovarian cancer and continues as a place to experiment with ideas about death, dying, and living.


She serves as Distinguished Writer in Residence at the College of the Holy Cross and on the faculty of Lesley University’s MFA in Creative Writing.