Born: August 15, 1941
Ohio connection: Birth
Carol Ascher was born August 15, 1941, in Cleveland, Ohio, a few weeks after her parents, Paul (a psychoanalyst) and Ellen Bergman arrived in the United States after fleeing Nazi Europe. Ascher grew up in Topeka, Kansas, where the pleasantries and comforts of a Midwest existence were not enough to shield her from the pressures of assimilation, and the often dark world of her parents and their friends, Jewish refugee psychoanalysts who worked at the Menninger Sanitarium, a psychiatric hospital. Of her childhood, Ascher has said that she grew up in a divided world and learned to have “a kind of double vision—to be both an American girl and the wary child of immigrants.” It is this childhood that informed her memoir (Afterimages, 2008) and fiction (The Flood, 1987; A Call From Spooner Street, 2015) writing. Carol Ascher writes fiction, memoirs, personal essays and scholarly articles. Her fiction and nonfiction often explore the themes of prejudice and inequality.
Ascher attended Vassar College, 1959-61 and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and Religious Studies from Barnard College in 1963. She also attended the School of Visual Arts, 1968-69 and earned an Anthropology and Education Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1974. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, she has spent much of her professional life writing about urban public schools. Her career includes writing, teaching and researching
Her She married Phillip Lopate in 1964 (divorced June, 1970) and married Robert Pittenger in 1982. She has published works under the name Carol Lopate as well as Carol Ascher.
A total of 4 PEN/National Endowment for the Arts Syndicated Short Fiction Awards; New York State Creative Artists’ Public Service Award, 1984, for The Flood; PEN/New York State Creative Artists’ Award, 1984; Blueline award for best short fiction, 1985; Women’s Quarterly Review honorable mention for best fiction, 1986.