22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Amy Kurzweil

Portrait Amy Kurzweil
©  Faryn Borella 

Author and cartoonist Amy Kurzweil was born in 1986 in Boston, Massachusetts. She studied at Stanford University and earned her master’s degree at The New School.
In 2004, the book »Forever Poems For Now And Then« was published as a result of a ten-year collaboration between her and her mother Sonya Kurzweil. In this volume, aimed at both adults and children, poems are combined with classical artwork. She also collaborated with her father, author, inventor, futurist, and head of technical development at Google LLC Ray Kurzweil, as an illustrator, for the children’s book »Danielle. Chronicles of a Superheroine« (2019). In her debut »Flying Couch« (2016), Amy Kurzweil interweaves the story of her coming of age as a young Jewish artist with the life stories of her mother, a psychologist, and her grandmother, a Shoah survivor who escaped the Warsaw Ghetto by posing as a non-Jew. Fascinated by their story, Amy tried to process what was told in her sketchbooks. The result is a composition of the voices of three women that shows how each generation is marked by the traces of the past. This illustrated memoir, which is also an unusual coming-of-age story, offers an important introduction to Holocaust literature. It was named to the Junior Library Guild Autumn 2016 Selection by »The New York Times« and one of the »Best Memoirs of 2016« by »Kirkus Review«. Kurzweil is currently working on her second book, »Artificial: A Love Story«, which she describes as a »graphic memoir about the future of the past.« While »Flying Couch« was about the transmission of memories and trauma across three generations of women in her family, in »Artificial« Amy Kurzweil wants to explore her father’s lineage with his Viennese roots. There, her grandfather, a musician she came to know, narrowly escaped the Holocaust and died of heart disease at 58. In her father’s archive, Amy Kurzweil found letters and notes from her grandfather, as well as photographs, newspaper clippings, and sheet music, which served as the basis for her immersion in his biography: » The book is a metameditation on memory, an investigation into why and how we document our lives, what that process looks like today, and what it might look like tomorrow.«
Amy Kurzweil’s illustrations and comics appear regularly in numerous publications including »The New Yorker«, »The Believer«, »The Journal of Alta California«, and written texts by her have appeared publications such as »Longreads«, »Literary Hub«, »The Toast«, »Hobart«, and »Shenandoah«. She lives in Brooklyn.