About Eve Kushner

Eve Kushner at a Tokyo garden
Eve, thrilled to be at a teahouse in Hama Rikyu, a famous Tokyo garden, April 2002

Eve Kushner lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband and their dog Kanji. She has written two books (both in their second printings) and hundreds of articles for dozens of markets.

Now she writes exclusively about kanji, working obsessively and quite happily on her huge project, Joy o' Kanji. With this undertaking, she aims to write one essay about each of the 2,136 kanji (written characters) used in daily life in Japan.

Eve has done interviews in several media, including TV, radio, and print publications such as Newsweek. The Press Coverage page has information about these appearances, as well as links to articles about Eve's work.

Other items of note:

  • Listed in Contemporary Authors, Who's Who in America, Who's Who of American Women, and Who's Who of Emerging Leaders.
  • Member of the National Association of Professional Women.
  • Co-founder with officemate Gail Shea of Quilts4Japan, an organization collecting quilts from across the United States for the survivors of the multiple disasters in Japan in March 2011.
  • Wrote the weekly blog "Kanji Curiosity" for JapanesePod101.com from 2007 through 2010. The Japan Times praised these blog essays as "informative and entertaining."
  • Published a monthly column in Builder/Architect magazine from 2006 through 2008. The column was called "Achieving Creative Freedom."
  • Invited by the San Francisco Institute of Architecture to give two speeches about visionary architects.
  • Featured on Red Room, a site that showcases authors. In March 2009, Red Room chose Eve's Obama podcast as "Best Podcast." And in January 2008, Red Room gave the "Best Review" designation to Eve's review of Midori by Moonlight, a novel by Wendy Tokunaga.

So that's the current story. Here's the back story.

Born in September 1968, Eve grew up in Annapolis, Maryland. She attended Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut for four years. Not yet feeling cold enough, she then moved farther north, majoring in English at Dartmouth College. During sophomore winter she escaped to the University of California, San Diego, and in junior year she did an exchange at University College London.

After graduating from Dartmouth in 1990, she attended the Denver Publishing Institute, preparing to be an editor.

In 1991, she and her husband moved to Berkeley, where they have lived ever since.

The same year, Eve began working as a freelance editor for many presses, such as the University of California Press and Jossey-Bass Publishers. In the meantime, she researched and wrote Experiencing Abortion: A Weaving of Women’s Words (Harrington Park Press, 1997).

In 1999, Eve decided to devote herself entirely to writing. For the next 11 years, her writing took her in many directions. For instance, she wrote food reviews for two publications, as well as personal essays and general-interest articles. Her pieces appeared in the following sorts of magazines:

In 2002, she began profiling people with fascinating niches—individuals who centered their lives around a passion and who stayed the course, no matter what. She published dozens of such portraits, often in front-page spreads in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In 2005, Eve dreamed up Crazy for Kanji: A Student’s Guide to the Wonderful World of Japanese Characters. After focusing for so long on other people's passions, she felt the need to run with her own passion and creativity. Crazy for Kanji came out in early 2009.

The idea for Joy o' Kanji came to her that same year, and by 2010 she decided to put everything else aside to turn this vision into a reality.