Saturday, December 19, 2009

Maggie Anton

Maggie Anton was born Margaret Antonofsky in Los Angeles, California. Raised in a secular, socialist household, she reached adulthood with little knowledge of her Jewish religion. All that changed when David Parkhurst, who was to become her husband, entered her life, and they both discovered Judaism as adults. In the early 1990's, Anton began studying Talmud in a class for women taught by Rachel Adler, now a professor at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. She became intrigued with the idea that Rashi, one of the greatest Jewish scholars ever, had no sons, only three daughters. Slowly but surely, she began to research the family and the time in which they lived. Legend has it that Rashi's daughters were learned in a time when women were traditionally forbidden to study the sacred texts. These forgotten women seemed ripe for rediscovery, and the idea of a book about them was born.

The Rashi's Daughters trilogy is comprised of Book I: Joheved, Book II: Miriam, and Book III: Rachel. Anton is also the author of the YA novel, Rashi's Daughter, Secret Scholar.

Recently, I asked Anton what she was reading. Her reply:
I'm currently reading Julian by Gore Vidal, who is probably one of this country's best writers of historical fiction. I'm actually reading it as research for my next book, which takes place in Babylonia at about the time. But I can hardly put Julian down and I feel guilty for enjoying this book so much when I'm reading it for work. I envy Gore Vidal's ability to bring his character's personality to life so vividly and to perfectly capture the deadly political intrigues of 4th-century Rome. I know it was written almost 50 years ago, but Julian is still a great read.
Visit Maggie Anton's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue