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.
Finalist for the CutBank 2011 Montana Prize in Fiction
Essay published in SoToSpeak, Spring 2011
Essay published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Spring/Summer 2009
Winner of the CutBank 2008 Montana Prize in Nonfiction
Essay published in The Rambler, January/February 2008
read a PDF excerpt from “Hitching”
Winner of the SoToSpeak 2007 Nonfiction Contest
Paper presented at the 2006 Biennial Scholars Conference on American Jewish History, 5–7 June 2006, Charleston, SC
read a PDF of “Orphans Together”
Essay published in Proteus: A Journal of Ideas, Fall 2002