Colwin, Laurie (1944–1992)

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Colwin, Laurie (1944–1992)

American fiction and food writer. Born on June 14, 1944, in New York, New York; died of a heart attack on October 24, 1992, in New York; daughter of Estelle Snellenberg; educated at Bard College and Columbia University; married Juris Jurjevics (an editor), in 1981; children: Rosa Audrey Jurjevics.

Selected works:

Passion and Affect (1974); Shine on, Bright and Dangerous Object (1975); Happy All the Time (1978); Family Happiness (1982); Home Cooking (1988); A Big Storm Knocked It Over (1993); More Home Cooking (1993).

Laurie Colwin was born in New York but spent her youth in Long Island, Chicago and Philadelphia. She returned to Manhattan as an adult and attended Bard College and Columbia University before quitting school and going into publishing. Colwin worked her way through four publishing houses, moving up from a clerical position to assistant editor at Dutton. She wrote at night, publishing her first story in The New Yorker (1969). When Dutton fired her for insubordination, she took it as a sign. "If I hadn't been fired, I don't know what would have happened to me because I was very unwilling to make that gesture of saying, 'Forget the job. I'm a writer.'"

Colwin's short-story collection Passion and Affect was published in 1974 and was followed by several novels. Food played a prominent role in her writing; as a columnist for Gourmet, she could make the successes and failures of a typical kitchen her central theme. Her frank acknowledgment of the mess that can accompany cooking earned her a devoted following. Several of Colwin's columns were collected in 1988's Home Cooking. In 1987, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Colwin married Soho Press editor Juris Jurjevics in 1981, and they had a daughter, Rosa. Eleven years later, in 1992, Laurie Colwin died at age 48. At the time of her death, she had two books in production. A Big Storm Knocked It Over and More Home Cooking were released in 1993.


The New York Times (obituary). October 26, 1992, D10.

Pearlman, Mickey, and Katherine Usher Henderson. A Voice of One's Own. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1990.

Schwarz, Karen. "The Writing Life," in Writer's Digest. December 1983, pp. 22–23.

Crista Martin , Boston, Massachusetts