PERSONAL: Born Margaret Antonofsky, in Los Angeles, CA; married David Parkhurst; children: Emily and Ari. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Talmud study.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Banot Press, 1413 Kenneth Rd., #280, Glendale, CA 91202. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer. Kaiser Permanente Biochemical Genetics Laboratory, clinical chemist.
AWARDS, HONORS: Best Book Award, USABook News.com, 2005, for Rashi's Daughters, Book One: Joheved.
Rashi's Daughters, Book One: Joheved, Banot Press (Glendale, CA), 2005.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Rashi's Daughters, Book Two: Miriam.
SIDELIGHTS: Maggie Anton became interested in Judaism after her marriage, when she and her husband David Parkhurst began attending synagogue and studying religious traditions. In the 1990s she joined a women's Talmud class and spent the next five years meeting weekly to discuss scriptures. Anton's children left home in 1997 and this gave her more time to devote to her studies. She started investigating the life of Rashi, a Jewish scholar who lived in France in the eleventh century. Rashi had no sons, only three daughters, and he broke with tradition by educating all of them in Jewish traditions.
After seven years of research, Anton began writing Rashi's Daughters, Book One: Joheved. The first volume of a planned trilogy focused on Rashi's eldest daughter, Joheved. Rashi notices that Joheved is brilliant and furnishes her with books so that she can study in secret. Joheved plays the traditional female roles of daughter, sister, and wife, caring for her grandmother and hiding her studies from her betrothed, but she also helps her father run his winery. Throughout, she is devoted to her faith.
The novel sold out of its first printing of 3,000 copies two months before publication, and a second printing sold rapidly. Anton has been pleased with the success of her novel, but claims a broader mission for her work. In an interview with Norm Goldman, editor of BookPleasures.com, she said, "I want to inspire more women and non-Orthodox Jews to study Talmud. I hope the short Talmud lessons in Rashi's Daughters will inspire them to do so."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Library Journal, October 1, 2005, Barbara Hoffert, review of Rashi's Daughters, Book One: Joheved, p. 46.
Small Press Bookwatch, June, 2005, review of Rashi's Daughters, Book One.
BookPleasures.com, http://bookpleasures.com/ (January 4, 2006), Norm Goldman, interview with Anton, and review of Rashi's Daughters, Book One.
Historical Fiction—TCM Reviews, http://tcm-ca.com/ (January 4, 2006), review of Rashi's Daughters, Book One.
Maggie Anton Home Page, http://rashisdaughters.com (January 26, 2006).
Romantic Times Book Club, http://www.romantictimes.com/ (January 4, 2006), review of Rashi's Daughters, Book One.