Eloisa James is a New York Times bestselling author of historical romance novels who has published over 30 books, translated in 26 languages, with sales worldwide of 7 million. Eloisa’s “double life” fascinates people, since as Mary Bly, she’s a Shakespeare scholar and Chair of the English Department at Fordham University. An example: Eloisa wrote the New York Times bestselling memoir, Paris in Love, about the year her family spent in France, and Mary wrote Lizzie and Dante, a contemporary novel about a Shakespeare professor, that will be published by Random House in 2021. She lives in New York City and Florence, Italy.
Photo by Bryan Derballa
After graduating from Harvard University, Eloisa got an M.Phil. from Oxford University, a Ph.D. from Yale and eventually became a Shakespeare professor, publishing an academic book with Oxford University Press. Her "double life" is a source of fascination to the media and her readers. In her professorial guise, she's written a New York Times op-ed defending romance, as well as articles published everywhere from women's magazines such as More to writers' journals such as the Romance Writers' Report.
- As of the end of 2018, Eloisa has published 29 novels, 27 of which have hit the bestseller lists. She also wrote a bestselling memoir, Paris in Love. Her books are published in 28 languages and 30 countries, including Slovakia, Slovania, and both print and manga editions in Japan. Worldwide, she has approximately 6 million books published in print or electronically.
- Eloisa James is a professor of English literature, specializing in Shakespeare. She teaches at Fordham University in New York City. Oxford University Press published her academic book in 2000. After graduating from Harvard University, Eloisa got an M.Phil. from Oxford University, a Ph.D. from Yale.
- With the exception of a year in Paris (during which she wrote her bestselling memoir, Paris in Love), and another in London, Eloisa lives in New York City during the school year and in Florence, Italy, during the summer. Her husband is a cavaliere, an Italian knight.
- Eloisa James is the daughter of poet Robert Bly (winner of the American Book Award for Poetry) and short story author Carol Bly. Her father is a big fan.
- Eloisa James’s godfather was the poet James Wright, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his Collected Poems. Among those poems – and one of Wright’s most beloved – is a poem written for his goddaughter, Mary Bly (aka Eloisa James).
- In 2017, Eloisa was featured on CBS Sunday Morning’s Valentine’s Day segment and in 2014, Eloisa was featured in the NEH-sponsored documentary about romance, Love Between the Covers. The film debuted at the Library of Congress and won several film festival awards.
In 2013, Eloisa won the RITA Award, romance industry’s top honor, for Seduced by a Pirate.
- In 2012, Eloisa was the first romance writer asked to give a talk at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. She wrote an essay about it for the Washington Post.
- In 2009, Eloisa gave a keynote speech at the annual Romance Writers of America conference and appeared on the keynote panel at the Shakespeare Association of America conference.
- In 2005, Eloisa wrote an op-ed for The New York Times, defending the romance genre against the term “bodice-ripper.”
Eloisa chats about the shy heroine of Say Yes to the Duke, "wilde" puns, and life in quarantine.
Eloisa discusses Shakespeare's life and a great work he likely created while in quarantine from the bubonic plague: King Lear.
To be, or not to be—for Eloisa James, the real question is, why not be both? With degrees from Harvard, Yale, and Oxford, she finds time to write bestselling historical romance novels while teaching Shakespeare at Fordham University.
Eloisa shares how she met her husband, Alessandro Vettori ’95PhD, at Yale (He’s an Italian knight. For real) and why she started writing romance novels.
Downloadable PhotosPhotos by Bryan Derballa
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