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Kathryn Harrison

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Kathryn Harrison (born March 20, 1961, in Los Angeles, California) is an American author. She has published seven novels, two memoirs, two collections of personal essays, a travelogue, two biographies, and a book of true crime. She reviews regularly for The New York Times Book Review.

Harrison's maternal grandparents raised her in Los Angeles, California, after her teenage parents separated when she was a baby. She graduated from Stanford University in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Art History; she received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa in 1987 after attending that school's Writers' Workshop.

Harrison emailed interviewer Robert Birnbaum: “My grandmother, the one who raised me, grew up in Shanghai. Her father’s name was Solomon Benjamin Sassoon, but he was too proud to use the name Sassoon to open doors for him, so he reversed the names and went as Solomon Sassoon Benjamin. He was born in Baghdad—one of the many descendants of Sheik David Sassoon — went from there to Bombay/Mumbai, and on to Hong Kong and then Shanghai. He had a small brokerage and made and lost and made again a small fortune, which paid for my education, among other things, before it was entirely frittered away.”

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