"I wanted to use what I was, to be what I was born to be - not to have a 'career', but to be that straightforward obvious unmistakable animal, a writer.""In saying what is obvious, never choose cunning. Yelling works better.""The engineering is secondary to the vision.""Traveling is seeing; it is the implicit that we travel by."
Cynthia (Shoshana) Ozick was born in New York City, the second of two children. She moved to the Bronx with her Russian-born parents, Celia (Regelson) and William Ozick, proprietors of the Park View Pharmacy in the Pelham Bay neighborhood. As a girl, Cynthia helped to deliver prescriptions. Growing up in the Bronx, she remembers stones thrown at her and being called a Christ-killer as she ran past the two churches in her neighborhood. In school she was publicly shamed for refusing to sing Christmas carols.
She earned her B.A. from New York University and went on to study English Literature at Ohio State University, where she completed an M.A.
Ozick's fiction and essays are often about Jewish American life, but she also writes on a broad range of topics including politics, history, and literary criticism. Furthermore, she has written and translated poetry.
Her novel Heir to the Glimmering World (2004), called The Bear Boy in the United Kingdom, received much praise in the literary press. The Din in the Head is her sixth collection of literary essays.
In 1986, she was selected as the first winner of the Rea Award for the Short Story. Ozick was on the shortlist for the 2005 Man Booker International Prize, and in 2008 she was awarded the PEN/Malamud Award established by Bernard Malamud’s family "to honor excellence in the art of the short story".