CAREER: Taught high school English in New Orleans, LA; worked in the editorial departments of various New York publications; Fish Tank (zine), editor and publisher. Bronx Academy of Letters, writer-in-residence, 2004.
AWARDS, HONORS: Firecracker Alternative Book Award, 1999, for Fish Tank; MacDowell Colony fellow (twice); Lambda Literary Award finalist, and Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, both for Some of the Parts.
Some of the Parts: A Novel, Akashic Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes (novel), Dutton Adult (New York, NY), 2006.
(Editor, with Adam Mansbach) Fictional History of the United States with Huge Chunks Missing, Akashic Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to anthologies and other volumes, including The Future Dictionary of America (includes CD), by Dave Eggers, Nicole Krauss, and others, edited by Jonathan Safran Foer, McSweeney's, 2004; and The Insomniac Reader: Stories of the Night, Manic D Press, 2005. Contributor to periodicals, including the New York Times, Believer, Teen People, Out, Parenting, and Time for Kids.
SIDELIGHTS: On her Web site, T. Cooper notes that while working for Teen People on stories about bands that included The Backstreet Boys, she decided to form an all-female band, which she named The Backdoor Boys. The four androgynous band members enhanced their boyish looks, and their performances were booked internationally, as far away as Malaysia.
Cooper's debut novel, Some of the Parts: A Novel, features four very diverse characters who include Isak, Taylor, Arlene, and Charlie. Taylor is Arlene's daughter, and Charlie is Arlene's brother. Arlene pops pills to forget the husband who left her and she owns a shop in Providence, Rhode Island. The androgynous and bisexual woman named Isak is a performance artist who lives in New York City. Isak lives with Charlie, who is HIV-positive, but she decides to leave him and move to Los Angeles. Taylor is also bisexual, and she meets Isak and begins a relationship with her in Los Angeles. These four characters are the "parts" of the title. In a review for the San Francisco Chronicle Online, Diane Anderson-Minshall described Some of the Parts as "a wry look at the intricacies of gender, sexuality and identity and how we use them as labels to make exiles of one another."
Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes is the story of a family of Russian Jews who immigrate to the United States in 1907. After arriving in New York, one of their young sons disappears from the immigration line. Five-year-old Reuven is blonde and, they tell authorities, doesn't look Jewish. He is never found, and the family settles in Texas. When Esther is told by a psychic that Reuven will become famous and then suffer a tragedy, she becomes convinced that Charles Lindbergh is her son and sends a constant stream of letters to the Lindberghs after their son is kidnapped in 1932. The story then moves to the year 2002, when a great-grandson, a blond rapper named T. Cooper (the author's name as well), loses his parents in a car crash and returns to Texas to make funeral arrangements. A Publishers Weekly critic wrote that Cooper adds to the themes of Jewish heritage and assimilation with "both postmodern parody and Chagallesque folk magic."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Advocate, January 21, 2003, review of Some of the Parts: A Novel, p. 89.
Booklist, November 1, 2005, John Green, review of Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes, p. 24.
Boston Phoenix, May 22, 2003, Amy Finch, review of Some of the Parts.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2002, review of Some of the Parts, p. 974; October 15, 2005, review of Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes, p. 1099.
Lambda Book Report, April-July, 2003, Carol Rosen-feld, review of Some of the Parts, p. 19.
Publishers Weekly, September 2, 2002, review of Some of the Parts, p. 56; October 10, 2005, review of Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes, p. 32.
Brooklyn Rail Online, http://www.thebrooklynrail.org/ (December 20, 2005), Randolph Lewis, "T. Cooper: Portrait of a Young Novelist."
T. Cooper Home Page, http://www.t-cooper.com (January 5, 2006).