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Hope Edelman

Hope Edelman (BSJ86) has become a recognized expert on the long-term effects of early mother loss. In 1994 she wrote the international bestseller Motherless Daughters which chronicles the experience of nearly 200 women, including herself, who have lost their mothers at a young age to death or abandonment. Four subsequent books examined topics including the grandmother-granddaughter relationship and the experiences of motherless women when they become mothers themselves.

She is the author or co-author of six nonfiction books, including Motherless Daughters (1994), which has been published in sixteen countries and translated into eleven languages; Letters from Motherless Daughters (1995), an edited collection of letters from readers; Mother of My Mother (1999), which looks at the depth and influence of the grandmother-granddaughter relationship; Motherless Mothers (2006), about the experience of being a mother when you don't have one; and The Possibility of Everything (2009), her first book-length memoir, set in Topanga Canyon, California, and Belize. Most recently, she co-authored the book Along the Way with Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez about the actors’ ffty-year father-son relationship.

Hope has lectured widely on the long-term effects of early parent loss. She has appeared on national and local television throughout the U.S., including the Today show and Good Morning America, and has also appeared on TV and radio in Toronto; Vancouver; London; Sydney; Melbourne, Australia; and Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, New Zealand. In November she will deliver a keynote speech at the opening of the first bereavement center in Dubai, UAE. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and Writer’s Digest.

She began her journalism career with a part-time job at Outside magazine in Chicago, and soon after did her Teaching Newspaper internship at the Salem Statesman-Journal in Salem, Oregon. After a summer as an American Society of Magazine Editors intern in New York City, she took her first full-time editorial job at Whittle Communications in Knoxville, Tennessee. From there, she went on to the University of Iowa, earning a master's degree in creative nonfiction, one of the first of its kind.

She is the recipient of a New York Times Notable Book of the Year designation and a Pushcart Prize for creative nonfiction. Nearly every July you can find her at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival in Iowa City, and periodically at other conferences and festivals throughout the U.S., including Medill’s Cherub program. She teaches regularly in the MFA program at Antioch University-Los Angeles and is a proud member of Northwestern’s Council of 100, a group of 100 notable women alumni who mentor current Northwestern students and recent graduates.