Contact Fran

by email:

by Twitter:


via LinkedIn  at:

… And a  little bit about Fran

Born: Philadelphia, Penn.
Grew up: Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Western Pennsylvania, Lowell and Lexington, Mass.
College: University of California at Berkeley, Phi Beta Kappa, BA in English
Other academic honors: National Merit Scholar, high school valedictorian
Other writing: Selected as a participant in fiction, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, 1991

Memberships: American Friends of the Heschel Center for Sustainability (board secretary), Science Writers in New York, GetOrganizedBK, Park Slope Food Coop (Agenda Committee), Downtown East for Progress
Other interests:  … running (typically 6.5 mi/day); studying Russian, French, and Hebrew; community service, especially working with refugees and cleaning up Prospect Park; volunteering in political campaigns; piano; learning to read Torah; re-learning to ride a bike; travel (next stops: Stonehenge; Venice, Italy; Greece); and of course, family and reading


25 Responses to Contact Fran

  1. richard says:

    Several tax questions evoked by your detailed and informative “Young Workers…Long-Term Care” article:
    1. What is the tax status of the yearly premiums?
    2. Once a person is eligible for LTC, what is the tax status of
    a. $ paid directly to that person, with no strings attached, up to the total of premiums paid?
    b. Same, except more than the amount of premiums paid?
    c. $ paid to the nursing home, to the total of premiums paid
    d. Same, except more than the amount of premiums paid.

    Thank you.
    richard handelsman

  2. hawthornewriter says:

    Hi Richard
    Thanks so much for your interest in my New York Times article (and this Website). Since I’m not a tax expert, I asked a few who are, and they suggested a book called “Tax Facts 2008″ from the National Underwriter Company. I hope this helps. (The last thing I’m going to do is risk getting you or me in trouble with the IRS by trying to give you tax advice!)

  3. H.T.Narea says:

    Fran- I appreciated your blurb about the Dream Act dying on the Senate floor. I’m an immigrant whose parents came here via the front door, nonetheless, I am empathetic to the plight of these students seeking, and working hard, for a new life here on these shores. After all, it is what the American dream is all about — hard work and persistence. While it is a social justice issue, it’s also an economic one. We need as many young persons eager to grab brass rings as we can keep in order to be more competitive in this century. Better they stay here and create GDP than they go elsewhere. Thanks for your effort to further publicize the issue. H.T.Narea

  4. Katherine says:

    I’m guessing another reader has told you about these machines that let you make sparkling water at home, but just in case:

    • hawthornewriter says:

      Hi Katherine — Did you write this because you read in my book “The Overloaded Liberal” how guilty I feel about drinking sparkling water from unecological plastic bottles? Well, thanks for reading the book. I suppose I should make my own Perrier. Also my own floor-cleaner. Also grow my own vegetables. Also my own clocks that will give me more than 24 hours in a day? Help!

    • Kristabelle says:

      fAwQFw You’re the greatest! JMHO

  5. Just finished The Overloaded Liberal. I found the start of the book pretty informative, but the solutions offered at the end didn’t really get the central conflict you discuss of how to be an ethical liberal in this day and age. If we are to ever make true changes in the impact we have on the earth and each other, we have to bond together and find solutions to living modern life that go beyond consumer action. What we buy matters, but really what we force corporate America and the politicos to prioritize is more important. Today the way forward on a lot of the fronts you covered will require a unified call for more active participation in producing food, creating equal rights, and demanding unions from all of us.

    • hawthornewriter says:

      Hi Tree — Thanks so much for reading my book and for the community and political work you seem to be doing. I agree with you that mass action of all sorts is needed to bring about the macro-social changes that will make it easier to juggle the conflicts I describe. (Nothing will eliminate all of them entirely.) But consumer and mass activism aren’t in conflict. After all, we have to buy food and clothes, so we may as well buy ones that are produced in ways that contribute to the cause that you would work on via a grander scale. Nor does it distract much energy from mass action to do a little research into that food and clothes. I also recognize that some people simply aren’t comfortable signing petitions, attending rallies, volunteering at phone banks, etc., so ethical-consuming gives them another outlet. In short — I welcome all efforts to make the world a more ethical, fair, and environmentally sustainable place!

      • I agree that we are all consumers and should be the “best” consumers we can, but my concern is that people start to say that consumer action is the way we best affect environmental and social change. In a world where those with the most to lose from things like climate change regulations are writing the regulations (or lack of) then the choices as consumers become false choices. Without strong regulations and a new approach to valuing the true cost of production these choices and debates about what to focus on at the cash register will remain ineffective in truly improving the world.

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  7. HI- Thank you for writing the Overloaded Liberal. It did reduce my guilt and clarify some of my choices! Guilt isn’t always bad – it is what motivates behavior change and the most conscientious people likely will have the most guilt. I will be sharing your book with Unitarians at a workshop on social class issues in July. I wanted to let you know that you can save money and the environment given your preference for fizzy water with products from We have used this in our home for several years. Article addresses this On a different note, I had just read your interview with Alan Dershowitz in the book and then saw the movie X-Men first class and felt very worried afterward about how people would feel about Jews and the State of Israel- if you see it I would be interested in your reactions.

    • hawthornewriter says:

      Hi Suzanne — Thanks so much for reading my book and offering to share it — and also thanks for your advice on fizzy water. You’re right that guilt can be a motivator, so there’s a fine line between feeling guilt motivate you, versus letting it make you feel like an awful person. Fran

  8. Nick Morris says:

    I doing some reading about the business sector and was wondering how things like competition and greed have become such a part of the masculine culture of business and if there is any way of moving toward a balanced way of doing business.

    Thanks so much,

    Nick M.

    • hawthornewriter says:

      Interesting idea: Would a company that was socially responsible, trying to limit its environmental impact and treat workers well, have a less competitive attitude? I think there might well be less competition within the workplace, among the staff. But the company has to make a profit, so I’m not sure how much it could curtail the competitive business instinct. What it could do is compete ethically, without bribes, misleading ads, etc.

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