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Erica Jong
Jong in 1977
Jong in 1977
Born Erica Mann
(1942-03-26) March 26, 1942 (age 82)
New York City, U.S.
  • Author
  • teacher
Alma mater Barnard College (BA)
Columbia University (MA)
Period 1973–present
Genre Primarily fiction and poetry
Notable works Fear of Flying, Shylock's Daughter
Michael Werthman
(m. 1963, divorced)
Allan Jong
(m. 1966, divorced)
Jonathan Fast
(m. 1977, divorced)
Kenneth David Burrows
(m. 1989)
Children Molly Jong-Fast
Relatives Howard Fast (father-in-law)

Erica Jong (née Mann; born March 26, 1942) is an American novelist, satirist, and poet, known particularly for her 1973 novel Fear of Flying. The book became controversial and figured prominently in the development of second-wave feminism. According to The Washington Post, it has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.

Early life and education

Weiner, Jennifer & Jong, Erica -MBFI 2013 fRF 03
Jennifer Weiner and Erica Jong at the Miami Book Fair International 2013

Jong was born on March 26, 1942. She is one of three daughters of Seymour Mann (died 2004), and Eda Mirsky (1911–2012). Her father was a businessman of Polish Jewish ancestry who owned a gifts and home accessories company known for its mass production of porcelain dolls. Her mother was born in England of a Russian Jewish immigrant family, and was a painter and textile designer who also designed dolls for her husband's company. Jong has an elder sister, Suzanna, who married Lebanese businessman Arthur Daou, and a younger sister, Claudia, a social worker who married Gideon S. Oberweger (the chief executive officer of Seymour Mann Inc. until his death in 2006). Among her nephews is Peter Daou, who is a Democratic Party strategist. Jong attended New York's The High School of Music & Art in the 1950s, where she developed her passion for art and writing. As a student at Barnard College, Jong edited the Barnard Literary Magazine and created poetry programs for the Columbia University campus radio station, WKCR.


Erica Jong by Bernard Gotfryd edit
Erica Jong early in her career, photographed by Bernard Gotfryd

A 1963 graduate of Barnard College, with an MA (1965) in 18th century English Literature from Columbia University, Jong is best known for her first novel, Fear of Flying (1973). The book is the account of Isadora Wing, a woman in her late twenties, searching for who she is and where she is going. Jong employed psychological and humorous descriptive elements, as well as rich cultural and literary references. The book addresses some of the conflicts that were arising for women in late 1960s - early1970s America - - of womanhood, femininity, and relationships, versus the quest for freedom and purpose. The saga of the thwarted fulfillment of Isadora Wing continues in two further novels, How to Save Your Own Life (1977) and Parachutes and Kisses (1984).

Personal life

Jong has been married four times. After a brief marriage to Michael Werthman while at Barnard, and another in 1966 to Allan Jong, a Chinese American psychiatrist, in 1977 she married Jonathan Fast, a novelist, social work educator, and son of novelist Howard Fast. This marriage was described in How to Save Your Own Life and Parachutes and Kisses. She has a daughter from her third marriage, Molly Jong-Fast. Jong is now married to Kenneth David Burrows, a New York litigator.

Jong lived on an army base in Heidelberg, Germany, for three years (1966–69) with her second husband. She was a frequent visitor to Venice, and wrote about that city in her novel Shylock's Daughter.

In 2007, her literary archive was acquired by Columbia University in New York City.

Jong is mentioned in "Highlands", the closing song of Bob Dylan's Grammy Award-winning album Time Out of Mind (1997), as a "women author" that the narrator reads. She is also satirized on the MC Paul Barman track "N.O.W.", in which the rapper fantasizes about a young leftist carrying a fictitious Jong book titled America's Wrong.

Jong supports LGBT rights and legalization of same-sex marriage. She says, "Gay marriage is a blessing not a curse. It certainly promotes stability and family. And it's certainly good for kids."


  • Poetry Magazine's Bess Hokin Prize (1971)
  • Sigmund Freud Award For Literature (1975)
  • United Nations Award For Excellence In Literature (1998)
  • Deauville Award For Literary Excellence In France
  • Fernanda Pivano Award For American Literature In Italy


  • 2023 Erica Jong - Breaking the Wall by Kaspar Kasics.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Erica Jong para niños

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