I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and have since lived in New York City; New Haven; Athens, Greece; and Boston, where I now live with my husband and two children. For years, I’ve been fascinated with the power of language and storytelling to heal wounds and build resilient families and communities. My work, across fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, strives to bring more authentic relationships to light and explore the ways in which giving voice to one’s histories, joys, and challenges helps people connect over space and time.
As a child and young adult, I studied German, and since have learned French as part of a bilingual family. My professional work has included speech-pathology clinical work in hospitals, schools, and clinics, including at Children’s Hospital Boston. After graduate school, I also worked as a Claims Analyst at the Claims Conference, an organization designed to restore assets to Jewish Holocaust victims and their families. As part of this work, I translated documents from German and French and conducted research on Swiss deposited assets. These efforts, inspired by my own personal history, have motivated my creative writing as well.
A passion for language and communication led to my writing of The Art of Talking with Children (HarperOne, 2022), which will be published in over 11 languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Polish, and Ukrainian. In addition to this book, I have written two full-length collections of poems (one forthcoming) and two poetry chapbooks, in addition to many short stories. I have won the Dana Award for Short fiction and have published stories in Slice, North American Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Crab Creek Review, and many others.
My current novel projects include a book on Nazi-era art theft, in which the model for a Matisse painting searches for the painting decades later. An excerpt from this book can be found in Lilith magazine and in the anthology Frankly Feminist: Short Stories by Jewish Women. I also have a book in progress on a dystopian society of women who wish to create “absolute music,” and find their authentic voices.
In addition to teaching at Harvard, I provide private consulting and manuscript editing, as well as consulting on creative projects through Grub Street. I frequently give lectures and keynotes on the creative process, including at Harvard Medical School and Grub Street’s Muse and the Marketplace conference, and love supporting creativity in both adults and children through workshops, talks, readings, and conference presentations.
Face to Face with Rebecca Rolland
Interview with The Fiddlehead
An Interview with Rebecca Givens Rolland on her work in creative nonfiction.
Interview with the Om Times
For Rebecca’s top 10 books that inspired her, watch this video at Om Times