Zoë Heller

Zoë Kate Hinde Heller (born 7 July 1965) is an English journalist and novelist long resident in New York City. She has published three novels, Everything You Know (1999), Notes on a Scandal (2003), and The Believers (2008). Notes on a Scandal was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and was adapted for a feature film in 2006.

Zoë Heller
Heller in 2007
Zoë Kate Hinde Heller

(1965-07-07) 7 July 1965 (age 56)
Alma materSt Anne's College, Oxford
Columbia University (M.A.)
OccupationJournalist, novelist
Spouse(s)Larry Konner (separated)[1]
Parent(s)Caroline Carter Heller
Lukas Heller
RelativesBruno Heller (brother)
Cordelia Edvardson (aunt)
Hermann Heller (grandfather)
FamilyJennifer Konner (step-daughter)


Early life

Heller was born in St Pancras, north London, as the youngest of four children of Caroline (née Carter) and Lukas Heller, a successful screenwriter; her parents separated when she was five.[2] Her father was a German Jewish immigrant and her mother was English and a Quaker.[3][4] Her paternal grandfather was the political philosopher Hermann Heller.[5] Her brother is screenwriter Bruno Heller. Her sister, Lucy Heller, is Chief Executive of education charity Ark[6] and previously Managing Director of Times Supplements Ltd, the former educational publishing wing of News UK.

She attended Haverstock School in north London where she was a contemporary of David Miliband[7] and then studied English at St Anne's College, Oxford, gaining a first, before going on to Columbia University, New York where she received an MA on Marxist theories of literature and Jonathan Swift.[2][8]


After a period at the UK publisher Chatto, and a spell as a freelance book reviewer, Heller was taken on as a staff feature writer for The Independent on Sunday.[7] She later returned to New York in the early 1990s contracted to write for Vanity Fair. Deputizing for Nick Hornby while he was on holiday led to her reputation as a confessional writer.[7] She wrote for The New Yorker, a weekly column for The Sunday Times Magazine in the UK,[9] and was a columnist for The Daily Telegraph, for which she won the British Press Awards' "Columnist of the Year" in 2002.[10] She co-wrote the screenplay for the independent film, Twenty-One (1991).


Heller has published three novels, Everything You Know (1999), Notes on a Scandal (2003), which was one of six books shortlisted for the Booker Prize and was made into a film in 2006, and The Believers (2008). The Believers was shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award in 2010.[9]

In 2009, she donated the short story What She Did On Her Summer Vacation to Oxfam's 'Ox-Tales' project, four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Her story was published in the 'Water' collection.[11]

Personal life

In 2006, she married screenwriter Lawrence Konner in a "minimally" Jewish ceremony;[12] the couple separated in 2010.[1] Heller lives in New York City with her two daughters, Lula and Frankie.[1]


  1. Eden, Richard (December 12, 2010). "Notes on a Scandal author Zoë Heller 'leaves her Hollywood screenwriter husband". The Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  2. "And for her next trick, perfection, Profile: Zoe Heller". The Sunday Times. August 31, 2008. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  3. Nathan, John (24 June 2009). "Two giants of literature — and one big question". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  4. Cohen, Patricia (February 25, 2009). "Not Much Sympathy for Zoë Heller's Characters, but a Little Understanding". The New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  5. "WEDDINGS; Miranda Cowley And Bruno Heller". The New York Times. June 20, 1993.
  6. "Lucy Heller". ucl.ac.uk.
  7. Leith, Sam (September 13, 2008). "Zoë Heller: Metamorphosis". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  8. Vincent, Sally (May 24, 2003). "But seriously". The Guardian. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  9. "Zoe Heller". British Council. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  10. Birnbaum, Robert (29 July 2004). "Zoe Heller". The Morning News. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  11. "Ox-Tales". Oxfam. Archived from the original on March 18, 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  12. McKay, Alastair (January 22, 2007). "Teacher-pupil affairs: That's not the real scandal". Evening Standard. Retrieved March 24, 2020.

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