Alexandra Kleeman was born in Boulder, Colorado in 1986. She received a bachelor’s degree in literary arts and cognitive science from Brown University, followed by a master’s degree in rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley. After a one-year exchange at Harvard and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University’s School of the Arts, New York, she returned to Berkeley as a lecturer and PhD candidate in 2012.
Her works of prose have been published in »The Paris Review«, »Conjunctions« and »Guernica«, among others. Kleeman has also written essays and reportages for »Harper’s« and »The Guardian«. In 2014, an abridged version of a critical essay examining the fruitarian movement, which first appeared in »n+1« magazine, was published in »The Guardian«. In that essay, she undertakes a critical examination of the consequences of an extreme, fully raw diet. Her debut novel, »You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine« (2015), also addresses our modern obsession with health, food and fitness. Kleeman took the title of her book from an ad for bodybuilder Charles Atlas, which she had come across in one of her father’s old comics when she was a child. However, rather than seeing this title as a promise, Kleeman recognizes it much more as a threat. »Vogue« called the novel »›Fight Club‹ for women« and argued that while men should indeed read the book, it nevertheless adopts »specifically feminine angles« on female insecurities arising from Western beauty ideals. Kleeman focuses on a cult of nutrition and a young woman plagued by private problems who ends up joining it. The author begins the novel with a striking image that embodies the fear of her protagonist that her best friend is trying to change into her, that is, to dress like her and eat like her – a flattering yet also terrifying idea that mirrors the right to one’s own body. In her satirical examination of these often disturbing subjects, the author wins over readers with her unconventional narrative style and intelligent humor. »Publisher’s Weekly« called her the voice of a new generation and an author to keep an eye on.
After receiving a number of awards in the course of her university studies, Kleeman won the Bard Fiction Prize for Young Writers in 2016. The jury argued that »You Too« is »a novel about starvation read with a voracious hunger«. In 2016, she will publish a collection of short stories called »Intimations«. Alexandra Kleeman lives in Berkeley.