Weiner: Let Pennsylvania Vote First for President

jennifer weiner philadelphia

Philadelphia novelist Jennifer Weiner says Pennsylvania should move ahead of the New Hampshire primaries to cast the first votes in the presidential nominating contests every four years.

She writes today for a roundtable at the New York Times, each writer trying to answer the question: Which state should go first? Weiner’s answer: Her home state, of course. Read more »

ThinkFest Recap: Abbi Jacobson on Comedy and Female “Knuckleheads”


ThinkFest is streaming live all day. Watch ThinkFest here.

ThinkFest got off to a laugh-filled start Friday morning with an appearance by Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson, a Wayne native. She was interviewed by Philadelphia novelist Jennifer Weiner. Jacobson talked about her upbringing, about comedy, and about the rigors of producing a TV show for comedy central.

One highlight: A recent appearance on Broad City by Kelly Ripa, playing a drug- and sex-fueled version of herself. Ripa, Jacobson said, was up for anything. “We prank-called Regis,” she said.

Three other highlights from Jacobson: Read more »

ThinkFest Preview: Abbi Jacobson Discusses Her Journey From Broad Street to Broad City

Abbi Jacobson and Jennifer Weiner.

Abbi Jacobson and Jennifer Weiner.

Philly-born comedian Abbi Jacobson will sit down with local author/producer Jennifer Weiner during ThinkFest to chat about her journey from Philadelphia to becoming one of the most talked about—and laughed at—personalities on TV.

Jacobson was born in Wayne, Pennsylvania, where she attended Valley Forge Middle School and Conestoga High School. From there, she went on to study comedy at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Later, after moving to New York, she honed her skills with the Upright Citizens Brigade, where she met fellow comedian Illana Glazer. LOLs ensued.

Read more »

Jennifer Weiner’s Hard-Knock Life

Jennifer Weiner attends the 23rd Annual Glamour Women of the Year Awards hosted by Glamour Magazine at Carnegie Hall on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 in New York. Photo | Evan Agostini, Invision/AP

Jennifer Weiner attends the 23rd Annual Glamour Women of the Year Awards hosted by Glamour Magazine at Carnegie Hall on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 in New York. Photo | Evan Agostini, Invision/AP

“Guys! There is a giant thing about me in the New Yorker!” Philly author Jennifer Weiner crowed on Twitter on Monday. And so there is: 6,800 words devoted to the author of such best-sellers as In Her Shoes and Good in Bed. One of the interesting points made in the piece by Rebecca Mead is that Weiner has two audiences: one that laps up her classic chick-lit, and another that follows, with emotions ranging from amusement to embarrassment to sympathetic indignation, her ongoing fights with the literary establishment. Weiner has been a staunch standard-bearer for books featuring heroines who are “plucky” and “likable” — women with whom one would like to be friends.

In the past, Weiner has waged epic battles over literary worth with, among other lions, the New York Times, Jonathan Franzen, Curtis Sittenfeld (they’re BFFs now, though), Jennifer Egan  and Jeffrey Eugenides, to name just a couple. No one would ever say she shies away from controversy. In fact, a lot of folks think she courts it — that she comes from the school of “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” and that her constant battles to have women writers taken more seriously are really just a constant battle to have herself taken more seriously.

Which is a view I subscribed to. Seriously. Read more »

Jennifer Weiner v. Jonathan Franzen, Vol. III

New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Weiner


First, Jonathan Franzen wrote a lengthy diatribe against Twitter and its adherents, especially bemoaning the “Jennifer Weiner-ish self-promotion” the web breeds. Then, Weiner fired back with an essay of her own. THEN, it seems Franzen subtly called Weiner out without identifying her–we call this a “sub-tweet,” Jonathan– telling an interviewer, “I can’t stop writing and disappear just because someone chooses to project onto me her grievance with a million years of sexist human history.”

NOW, the Philadelphia-based chick lit queen has re-loaded and fired back again. Here’s what she told Salon.

Of course, I have no way of knowing if this is directed at me — and if you look at what I’ve said over the years, it’s been more about the Times as an institution and Sam Tanenhaus as a gatekeeper than JF. He’s more the beneficiary of a sexist system than its architect. However, in terms of what he’s done with his power, I think you can draw a very explicit causal relationship between his ’01 diss of Oprah and her choice to shutter the book club. Post-CORRECTIONS, Oprah never picked another debut female novelist…and the only female writers she talked about were Toni Morrison and Pearl S. Buck. He owns some of that.

I appreciate that he’s acknowledged that too many books get dismissed as chick lit, and that he’s championed Paula Fox, among others. But he can’t rail about Jennifer Weiner-ish self-promotion without acknowledging that, thanks in some part to his dealings with Oprah, social media is one of the things women writers have been forced to use to get the kind of attention he takes for granted. He has benefited tremendously from a system built on double standards, where a woman has to work twice as hard to be acknowledged as his peer, and he single-handedly eliminated one of the few routes women writers had to getting the kind of press he gets just by opening his mouth. His hands aren’t as clean as he’d like to believe.

This is at heart nothing if not a Philadelphia story. Punchy local underdog keeping up blow-for-blow with world-historical-high-fallutin’ Pultizer winner. Please don’t let this end.

Jennifer Weiner, Lisa Scottoline, Sold a Lot of E-Books in 2012

Despite newspapers’ barely-budging digital revenues, e-books seemed to be doing just fine in 2012. Leading the charge are Philly favorite daughters Jennifer Weiner and Lisa Scottoline, respective queens of chick-lit and crime. Each had three e-books rank in Publisher’s Weekly‘s bestseller list; Scottoline’s top seller was Come Home, at 53,000. Weiner’s was The Next Best Thing, at 93,000. [Publisher’s Weekly]

These Philadelphia VIPs Donated Over $1.7 Million to Mitt Romney and Barack Obama Since 2011

With the debates officially and thankfully behind us and Election Day just around the corner, we thought we would see who is giving what to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Below are some of the candidates’ more prominent Philadelphia-area contributors and their contributions* based on information provided by the Federal Election Commission.

Barack Obama Contributors

Mel HeifetzLGBT Activist$1,053,300
Ronald RubinPREIT$65,000
Rhonda and David L. CohenComcast$57,800
Harold "Gerry" LenfestThe Lenfest Group$45,800
Suze OrmanAuthor$45,400
Shanin SpecterKline & Spectuer$35,800
Suzanne and Ralph RobertsComcast$35,000
Abdur-Rahim IslamUniversal Companies (Kenny Gamble)$25,000
Sheldon BonovitzComcast$22,500
Glen SenkUrban Outfitters$22,500
Arthur MakadonBallard Spahr$20,000
Daniel Berger Berger & Montague$17,000
Leonard KlehrLubert-Adler$15,000
Stephen StarrRestaurateur$10,000
Judith von SeldeneckDiversified Search$10,000
Joseph WazComcast$10,000
Steve WojdakWodjak Associates$10,000
Michael SklaroffBallard Spahr$6,000
QuestloveThe Roots$5,800
Eric BlatsteinOTG Management (Brother of Bart Blatstein)$5,500
Mark AldermanCozen O'Connor$5,000
Amy BanseComcast$5,000
Neil OxmanThe Campaign Group$5,000
Larry CeislerCeisler Media$4,500
Keith LeaphartReplica Design$3,750
Kevin FeeleyBellevue Communications$3,500
Bill Miller IVRoss Associates$2,500
Lynn HonickmanPhilanthropist$2,000
James TimberlakeKieran Timberlake$1,000
Jennifer WeinerAuthor$1,000


Mitt Romney Contributors

Ira LubertLubert-Adler$42,500
Gretchen BurkeComcast$40,800
Robert AsherAsher's Chocolates$20,750
John ConwayCrown Holdings$7,500
David AdelmanCampus Apartments$5,000
Vernon Hill Pet Plan$5,000
Alan HorwitzCampus Apartments$5,000
Raymond PerelmanRGP Holdings$5,000
Ed SniderComcast-Spectacor$5,000
Brian TierneyBrian Communications Group$5,000
James J. KimAmkor Technology$5,000
Frank BinswangerBinswanger Real Estate$4,000
Fred ShabelComcast-Spectacor$3,750
Steve CordascoCordasco Financial/1210-AM Host$2,500
Michael Forman Franklin Square Capital Partners$2,500
Peter GoldThe Gold Grouo$2,500
Carl PrimaveraKlehr Harrison$2,500
James BeasleyBeasley Firm$2,500
Michael GeorgeQVC$2,500
William SassoStradley Ronen$2,500
Brook LenfestPhilanthropist$2,500
Bill GilesPhiladelphia Phillies$2,500
Charles PizziConsultant (Former Tasty Baking)$2,000
Joe Zuritsky Parkway Corporation$1,000
Joseph CoradinoPREIT$1,000

* Contributions include individual contributions made directly to the candidate as well as some contributions made to PACs.

ABC Family Axes Jennifer Weiner’s Show

Philadelphia author Jennifer Weiner has had no shortage of success, at least in the chick-lit—or “women’s fiction,” if you prefer—genre. It seems that every ladies’ book club has read Good In Bed and In Her Shoes from the early aughts, and many fans feel that her most recent work, July’s Then Came You, finds Weiner at her best. But her transition to television has been a real reversal of fortune. Read more »

Jennifer Weiner, Shut Up

In case you haven’t been following the internecine fights of the literary establishment, Philly’s own Jennifer Weiner, author of highly popular chick-lit works In Her Shoes and the new Fly Away Home, is having a hissy-fit all over the blogosphere because, well, essentially because Jonathan Franzen is a Big F’ing Deal Who’s Being Paid A Lot of Attention. After the New York Times called Franzen’s Freedom “a masterpiece of American fiction,” Weiner summoned her high-heeled followers via Twitter to protest against “Franzenfrenzy,” claiming that said literary establishment elevates white male authors at the expense of writers like, well, her, who write about the same topics—family, relationships, that sort of stuff—and have their work dismissed as unserious and unworthy. That touched off a flurry of back-and-forths about whether the Times’s book coverage really is sexist (apparently so) and whether “chick lit” is a dirty word (also apparently so). Read more »