KIM VAN ALKEMADE

photo of Kim van Alkemade

I've written two historical fiction novels Orphan #8 (William Morrow, 2015) and Bachelor Girl (Touchstone, 2018). My creative nonfiction essays have appeared in literary journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, CutBank, and So To Speak. I was born in New York, NY, and earned a BA in English and History from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and an MA and PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I currently work as a Professor in the English Department at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania where I teach writing. I live in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

I spent eight years researching and writing Orphan #8. It all began with my interest in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum of New York, the institution in which my grandfather, Victor Berger, and his brothers, Charlie and Seymour, grew up. My great­grandmother, Fannie Berger, worked at the orphanage, first as a domestic and later as a counselor. Many of the characters and events in Orphan #8 were inspired by my family history.

About my name:
Here's how to pronounce “van Alkemade”. And in case you're wondering where to shelve Orphan #8 or Bachelor Girl, although the "van" in van Alkemade is lowercased (following the traditional Dutch spelling), please keep them with the other "V"s.

Other Publications


“His Amy Hours”

Finalist for the CutBank 2011 Montana Prize in Fiction

“Buddha Tattoo Romance”

Essay published in SoToSpeak, Spring 2011

“Resting Place”

Essay published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Spring/Summer 2009

“Severance Pay”

Winner of the CutBank 2008 Montana Prize in Nonfiction

“Hitching”

Essay published in The Rambler, January/February 2008

read a PDF excerpt from “Hitching”


“Spinster Punk”

Winner of the SoToSpeak 2007 Nonfiction Contest

“Orphans Together: A History of New York's Hebrew Orphan Asylum”

Paper presented at the 2006 Biennial Scholars Conference on American Jewish History, 5–7 June 2006, Charleston, SC

read a PDF of “Orphans Together”


“Forgotten Fathers”

Essay published in Proteus: A Journal of Ideas, Fall 2002