Fischkin, Barbara

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Fischkin, Barbara


Born in New York, NY; married Jim Mulvaney (a journalist and private investigator); children: Daniel, Jack. Education: Graduated from State University of New York at Albany.


Home—Long Island, NY. Agent—Literary Group International, Stanford Bldg., 51 E. 25th St., Ste. 401, New York, NY 10010. E-mail—[email protected].


Author, journalist, and educator. Writer for daily newspapers, beginning 1975; staff writer for Newsday, 1980s; journalism professor at New York University and Adelphi University. Host of Maverick Mama, a monthly radio program for Autism One Radio. Writers on Autism, founder.


PEN (cochair of Writers Roundtable Committee), Authors Guild.


Livingston Award for International Reporting, 1986, for a series of Newsday articles.


Muddy Cup: A Dominican Family Comes of Age in a New America, Scribner (New York, NY), 1997.

Exclusive: Reporters in Love … and War (novel), Delta (New York, NY), 2005.

Confidential Sources (novel), Delta (New York, NY), 2006.

Author of the blog Huffington Post. Author of "Not Calm" political column, Fox News Online. Contributor to periodicals, including Christian Science Monitor, New Yorker, New York Times, Wigwag, Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune, and Mademoiselle. Contributor to the Web site iParenting.


Journalist and educator Barbara Fischkin is the author of the nonfiction work Muddy Cup: A Dominican Family Comes of Age in a New America, as well as the novel Exclusive: Reporters in Love … and War and its sequel, Confidential Sources. Fischkin, a former Newsday reporter who covered stories in Northern Ireland, Ireland, Latin America, and Hong Kong, garnered the Livingston Award for International Reporting in 1986 for a yearlong series of articles about the Almontes, a Dominican family living in New York City. Over the next decade Fischkin maintained her relationship with the Almontes, and she documents their trials and triumphs in Muddy Cup, "an enlightening slice of cultural history, of one immigrant family's fate in a nation of immigrants," observed Brinkly Craft Goranson in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot. The author follows the lives of Javier and Roselia Almonte and their three children, Elizabeth, Christian, and Mauricio, as they emigrate from the Dominican Republic to the United States, encounter bureaucratic nightmares, find housing, learn English, and adapt to life in a new country. "This masterfully woven tale strikes at the heart of the American identity," remarked Library Journal contributor Triciacott H. Gray. Mary Carroll, writing in Booklist, called Muddy Cup "a vivid narrative that brings to life an often invisible immigrant group."

Exclusive, a screwball comedy based on Fischkin's real-life marriage, follows the adventures of fictional journalist Barbara Fischkin, a Newsday reporter who reluctantly falls for her brash coworker, ace reporter Jim Mulvaney (named after Fischkin's husband, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist). Despite their seemingly insurmountable differences, the pair finds love while covering "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland and Basque terrorists in Spain. "The genesis of this unlikely romance is interspersed with framing scenes, 25 years later, of the still-fictional Barbara Fischkin trying to write a fictional account of her life while husband Mulvaney looks over her shoulder," noted Romance Reader Web site critic Susan Scribner, who added: "It's a clever if somewhat surrealistic idea." A reviewer in Publishers Weekly praised Fischkin's "chatty and wryly affectionate debut novel," stating that the author "delivers a crisp read buoyed by a delightfully caustic voice." According to Wendy Duren, writing on the Paperback Reader Web site, Exclusive "is fiction that is unapologetically a love story with a happy ending; an interesting and refreshing alternative to both the concept that mainstream fiction cannot end well and the constructs, setups, and clichés of genre romance."

Confidential Sources continues the story of Fischkin and Mulvaney. In the novel, the globe-trotting reporters attempt to scoop each other while on assignment in Nicaragua, Mexico, and Hong Kong. When their two sons are born, however, Fischkin and Mulvaney must learn to balance work and family life, in part because one of their sons is diagnosed with autism. "Fischkin considers the demands of marriage, parenthood, and career in [her] amusing novel," remarked Booklist contributor Patty Engelmann.

Fischkin told CA: "I wrote my first short story when I was in elementary school, but what really intrigued me early on was journalism, the process of reporting and writing a true story on deadline. I worked on both my high school and college newspapers and the experience was invaluable."

When asked who influences her work, Fischkin said: "Many people have. Lately I have been so amazed by the struggles and triumphs of my son Daniel as he reaches adulthood that I have decided to write my next book about him.

"Blank pages are torture. Once I get going, though, I can't stop."

Fischkin said that the most surprising thing she has learned as a writer is "that writing enables you to find out what you think.

"I don't have a favorite [book.] Most of my readers like Muddy Cup best. They say it has the most depth. I, though, feel that Exclusive and Confidential Sources are my ‘misunderstood children.’ They are funny but they deal with very important issues such as family history, disabilities and yes, terrorism, too.

"I hope that people who read Muddy Cup will understand why immigration is vital to our nation. With Confidential Sources and with my work-in-progress, I hope to show that individuals with autism, are individuals first. That we should look at their personhood before we merely say they are ‘autistic.’ I hope to illuminate the struggles and challenges faced by siblings of individuals with autism."



Booklist, August, 1997, Mary Carroll, review of Muddy Cup: A Dominican Family Comes of Age in a New America, p. 1873; October 1, 2006, Patty Engelmann, review of Confidential Sources, p. 35.

Library Journal, July, 1997, Triciacott H. Gray, review of Muddy Cup, p. 109.

Publishers Weekly, June 2, 1997, review of Muddy Cup, p. 59; May 23, 2005, review of Exclusive: Reporters in Love … and War, p. 59.

Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA), September 7, 1997, Brinkly Craft Goranson, "A Dominican Family Makes a Life in America," p. J7.

ONLINE, (July 10, 2007), "Barbara Fischkin's Profile."

Barbara Fischkin Home Page, (July 10, 2007).

New York State Writers Institute, (July 1, 2007), "Barbara Fischkin."

Paperback Reader, (July 10, 2007), Wendy Duren and HelenKay Dimon, reviews of Exclusive.

Romance Reader, (July 10, 2007), Susan Scribner, review of Exclusive.