Got Summer Reading? Check out TJ’s Alumni Novelists
“Smart, incisive, and fast-paced, The Partner Track is a sparklingly readable look at the inner workings of a Wall Street law firm — from the vantage point of a brainy, beautiful and self-doubting Asian-American associate. Wan has the remarkable ability to make you feel as if ‘you are there’ — inside the law firm, inside protagonist Ingrid Yung’s head. I did not want to put this book down.”
-Susan Cain, New York Times best-selling author of QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Helen Wan, TJ ’91, is author of The Partner Track, the story of a young Asian-American woman competing for partnership at a powerful law firm. After graduating from Amherst College and UVA Law School, she practiced law in New York City for over fifteen years. Like her novel’s protagonist, she is Asian-American and her first job as a lawyer was at a large New York law firm (Paul, Weiss), but her novel isn’t autobiographical.
Ms. Wan left the large firm for a media and entertainment firm and then became Associate General Counsel at The Time Inc. division of Time Warner, where she worked until deciding to leave the law to become a full-time novelist and raise her son, Alex, now three. In contrast, the novel’s protagonist, Ingrid Yung, remained on “the partner track” at her firm, encountering racial and gender bias and her own doubts along the way.
Originally planning to write a series of essays commenting on race, class, and gender in corporate America, an agent convinced her to try fiction. She took a fiction workshop, and two agents, three rewrites, and twelve years later, she sold her book to St. Martin’s Press. After her novel’s unusually successful debut, Wan was profiled in a cover story in the Washington Post. She has written for CNN, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and others and is a sought-after speaker at universities and businesses – including law firms – and at leadership events around the country, where she addresses such topics as how women and people of color experience the career ladder and how employers can achieve a more inclusive workplace. Her book is being used as course material in law school and college classrooms.
“A heartwarming and uproariously funny debut.”
J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times best-selling author of Commencement, Maine, and The Engagements.
Another lawyer-turned-novelist who graduated from UVA Law School, Amy FitzHenry, TJ ’01, published her debut novel, Cold Feet, in September 2015. The novel’s protagonist, Emma Moon, also a lawyer, is one week from her wedding day when she decides to locate her estranged father, setting off a chain of events that opens up her past and causes her to question her future.
After law school, FitzHenry spent five years as a litigator in the Los Angeles-based firm Quinn Emanuel. She is currently living in LA and serving as the Senior Legal Counsel for the global men’s health charity, the Movember Foundation.
“In Brodsky’s impressive debut, . . . the Greek gods walk the streets of New York City. . . . She makes a wholly believable case for legendary figures to change and grow over time while retaining the echoes of their former lives. She also plays with more modern mythology, employing New York’s own secret places and storied history to great effect. This intelligent, provocative fantasy breathes exciting new life into old, familiar tales.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Jordanna Max Brodsky, TJ ’94, devoted most of her energy at TJ to theater and humanities on her way to studying Greek mythology and 19th-century poets at Harvard. Long fascinated by timeless myths as well as modern history, she combined the two and added a good measure of suspense for her acclaimed debut novel, The Immortals, which brought Artemis to life as Selene DiSilva, who prowls the streets of New York City at night (TJ community readers will enjoy the appendices and glossary).
The second novel in her Olympus Bound series, Winter of the Gods, is due out later this year. She lives with her husband on New York City’s Upper West Side.
Head’s Up for the Next Generation of TJ Writers, . . . Cartoonists, Videographers . . .
Scholastic Award Winners
- Mei Baek, TJ ’18, for flash fiction, “Summer Skies”; and
- Zara Batalvi, TJ ’17, for poetry, “que sera in minor key” and “Our Fortunate, Insignificant, Unremarkable.”
- Akash Bansal, TJ ’18, for personal essay-memoir, “Small Change, Big Change”; and
- Joyce Hong, TJ ’16, for science fiction-fantasy, “Afterthoughts.”
Scholastic is the country’s longest-running and most prestigious award and recognition program for creative teens.
National Science Foundation competition winners
Eric Liu, TJ ’17, won first place in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Generation Nano: Small Science, Superheroes competition. Sponsored by NSF and its National Nanotechnology Initiative, the competition’s muse is Stan Lee, creator of Spider-Man, Thor, the Hulk, and X-Men.
Eric’s comic, featuring superhero “Nanoman,” who fights the malignant crab-monster “Cancer,” was on display at April’s USA Science & Engineering Festival (see Student Volunteers, this issue).
tjTODAY, Yearbook, and Adviser Recognized
TJ’s yearbook, Techniques, was awarded a Pacemaker at the National Scholastic Press Association-Journalism Education Association spring convention held in Los Angeles in April. Techniques was one of only eight yearbooks of comparable size to win a 2015 award. The Pacemaker is the most coveted award in student journalism.
The Virginia Association of Journalism Teachers and Advisers (VAJTA) awarded First Place Best of Show to both TJ’s newsmagazine (this new format — at right — allows for more in-depth exploration of topics) and its website, tjTODAY.
Senior’s Video Wins First Place
The non-profit Population Connection (formerly Zero Population Growth) awarded Joanna Gerr, TJ ’16, first place and $1,000 for her short video entry in the deforestation category of their “World of 7 Billion” international student video contest. Her video, “One Stump at a Time,” inspired by her Geosystems class, was chosen by a panel that included filmmakers and other professionals. Watch her one-minute video here.