Rebecca Kanner is now offering Online Writing Coach services! Please click here to learn more.

Rebecca is an award-winning novelist and teacher. Her latest novel, Esther, was published by Simon and Schuster and chosen by Library Journal as one of the best fiction books of the year.

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NEW for book clubs and educators: The Esther Reading Group Guide


“Kanner’s characters crackle to life as Esther’s tale is related in glorious detail. Razor-sharp dialog set against the backdrop of a court rife with treachery and political intrigue keep the pages turning. Esther is highly intelligent, politically savvy, and determined.” (Library Journal)

“The book of Esther comes to life in this vivid novel based on the Old Testament tale….Kanner’s descriptions are convincing and rich.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“The brutality of Esther’s experience makes her bravery that much more impressive, while her understandable struggle with fear makes her believable.” 4.5 stars (Romantic Times)

“Distinctively powerful and creative… immersive.” (Booklist)

“Kanner’s Esther is the best of the bunch. It introduces ideas about men and history, women and agency, that give Kanner’s Esther a sneaky heft.” (The Baffler)

“Kanner has fleshed out the story with vivid characters, enchanting descriptions of wealth and intrigue…” (Pioneer Press)

“…the relationship between Xerxes and Esther is erotic and fascinating to read.” (Star Tribune)

“The beloved story of Queen Esther is elegantly elaborated and complicated in Rebecca Kanner’s novel Esther…[Kanner] adds depth and colorful detail to this well-known Jewish tale.” (Jewish Book Council)

A Heroes and Heartbreakers Best Bet for November 2015

“Esther is nothing less than a top-rate historical novel.” (US Review of Books)

“A compelling piece of historical fiction.” (Historical Novel Society)

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Rebecca holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Fiction Writing from Washington University in St. Louis.  Her writing has won an Associated Writing Programs Award, a Loft Mentorship Award and 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2020 Minnesota State Arts Board Grants.  Her stories have been published in numerous journals and her reviews of books and movies have appeared in The Star Tribune, The American Jewish World, and elsewhere.  Her personal essay, “Safety,” is a Notable Essay in Best American Essays.

Rebecca’s debut novel, Sinners and the Sea, is the story of Noah’s Ark told through the voice of his nameless and accursed wife. Available from Simon and Schuster and other major retailers.

“I didn’t mean to write a novel about Noah’s wife.  But just a few pages into what I thought would be a short story I realized I didn’t want to stop.  A 500 year old man that everyone thinks is crazy, a host of vulgar sinners, a world on the verge of destruction…. For me, this material was irresistible.”

Along with other authors including Anita Diamant, Michael Cunningham, Joyce Carol Oates, Russell Banks and Ron Hansen, Rebecca is featured in Truthful Fictions: Conversations with American Biographical Novelists.

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Sinners and the Sea

Kanner animates a harsh, almost dystopic world of fallen people struggling to survive. Noah’s unnamed wife is a powerful, memorable character. -Publishers Weekly

[Noah’s wife] proves her strength and character as she tries to protect her family… from the outside forces that threaten. Kanner successfully undertakes a formidable task retelling a familiar religious story through the eyes of Noah’s wife. The narrative’s well-articulated, evenly balanced and stimulating. –Kirkus Reviews

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