|Hilma Wolitzer writes largely about domestic issues--parents and children, marriage, suburbia, and the problems of aging--in books that are routinely praised as sensitive, astute, and realistic. Wolitzer was born in Brooklyn, New York, during the Great Depression. As a child, she shared a bed with her two sisters, while her parents slept on a pull-out sofa in the apartment's tiny living room. She began working at 16, renting beach chairs in Coney Island and doing other odd jobs, and at 22 she left home to get married. Wolitzer had always loved to write; when she was nine years old, one of her poems had been published in a magazine sponsored by the New York City Department of Sanitation. Still, as a young wife and mother in suburban Long Island, she discovered that it was difficult to find the opportunity to sit at the typewriter, and she did not publish her first novel, ENDING, until 1974, when she was 44 years old. "There were some published short stories in between, but that's still a pretty long hiatus," she told one interviewer. "I could say I was busy raising my kids, teaching, and caring for my ailing parents--all true!--but that's no excuse. . . . I like to think that I was writing in my head during my fallow years." Wolitzer, who jokes that she should have been called the "Great Middle-Aged Hope," has since published more than a dozen books, some of them for young readers, and she regularly teaches writing at such schools as the University of Iowa, New York University, and Columbia University. Her daughter, Meg, is also a well-regarded novelist.