Maplewood Literary Award

I've been named the recipient of the 2017 Maplewood Literary Award, a prize given as part of the annual Ideas Festival taking place each March and April in Maplewood, NJ. Former recipients of the prize include Paul Auster and Dan Barry. As a long-time resident of the community and an enthusiastic user of the Maplewood Memorial Library, which sponsors the festival, I am especially delighted.

ELEVEN HOURS in The Wall Street Journal

In the Wall Street Journal, Sam Sacks calls Eleven Hours "exhilarating." He adds: "in the heart-in-throat climax, Ms. Erens maintains her poise and precision. The writing is candid without being sensational, detailed without being clinical. This admirable novel reminds us that even when childbirth is overseen by caring professionals in state-of-the-art facilities, it still arrives on waves of blood." (Most of this review is behind a paywall for non-subscribers.)


"Erens’ short novel is beautiful, contained, and remarkable. That a novel about the universal, essential, yet ordinary and often addressed process of bringing about new life could be so fresh is something readers can get lost considering." (May 1 issue)

ELEVEN HOURS receives starred Publishers Weekly review (and is their Pick of the Week)

I can't really ask for better than this: "Written with incredible clarity, this third novel from Erens (The Virgins) is a wonder, shifting between two protagonists with ease to tell a deeply personal narrative of childbirth, complete with tension, horror, and deep, mature emotion. This novel does not sentimentalize the delivery of a child but rather examines the surprise—mental and physical—that accompanies it. Labor stories are as old as time, but Erens's novel feels incredibly fresh and vivid. An outstanding accomplishment." 

ELEVEN HOURS receives starred Kirkus review

Kirkus starred reviews are very precious in this business, and I've never received one before. Now I have, for Eleven Hours. The entire review made me very happy because it suggested that the reviewer read the novel in very much the spirit in which I wrote it (this is far from always the case, even in reviews full of praise). The review is too long to reproduce here in full, but I'll quote from the very end: ". . . by combining portraits of a woman at the beginning of her pregnancy and a woman on the brink of motherhood, Erens shows that there is not one moment between these two experiences without peril. Powerful—aesthetically and viscerally."