Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Alix attended public schools and planned to be a lawyer like her dad. But in college at Case Western Reserve University she was smitten by philosophy and upon graduation moved to New York City to study philosophy at Columbia University grad school. After some years as an encyclopedia editor, she enrolled at New York University, where she took a degree in mathematics, and later, while raising two children, an MA in Humanities.
She became a civil rights activist in 1961 and a feminist activist in 1967. She published her first book in 1970 and taught her first class in 1973--all lifelong pursuits that have found their way into her writing.
Having explored in her novels the challenges of youth and midlife, in her three memoirs she has probed the later stages in the ongoing drama of her generation of women, taking on the terrors and rewards of solitude, of her parents' final years, and of her late-life calling as caregiver to her beloved husband for a decade before his death in 2014.
Both her fifth novel and a collection of her essays were published in 2012. She is now working on a new novel, and she is co-editing (with Honor Moore) a documentary history of Second Wave feminism for the Library of America.
In the 1960s she became a political activist--in the civil rights, anti-war, and feminist movements.
A member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), she named the NYC theater arts chapter, "7-Arts CORE." With them she attended the 1963 March on Washington, where, with hundreds of thousands, she saw Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. give his "I have a dream" speech.
She protested the Vietnam War in the 1960s, both by counseling draftees on their rights and at countless demonstrations. In the mid-1980s, as a visiting professor at the Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, she attended weekly prayer vigils at the nearby Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility, intended to close it down.
In 1967, she joined the new Women's Liberation Movement (WLM), becoming a member of the early groups New York Radical Women, Redstockings, WITCH, and New York Radical Feminists. Her activism on behalf of women's equality has ranged widely, from helping to plan the first national demonstration of women's liberation, the 1968 Miss America Pageant Protest in Atlantic City; advocating to make and keep abortion legal through speak-outs and demonstrations; organizing a Hawaii branch of the reproductive rights protest group No More Nice Girls; to working with the political action group Take Back the Future; and in 2012, as a member of the Occupy movement's women's caucus, Women Occupying Wall St (WOW), she helped put on four Feminist General Assemblies.
On behalf of seniors, she was on the board of THEA (The House of Elder Artists), a group trying to establish a retirement community for working artists and activists. She advocates for people with severely disabling brain diseases, like TBI, Alzheimer's, and other dementias, and their 15 million unpaid caregivers in the United States, and she fights agism wherever she sees it, in her writing and on the street.
Alix began writing stories and essays in the late 1960s. First, as a mother of young children to whom she read scores of children's books, some good, some bad, she thought she could do better than some of them and started writing her own. Soon after, she started writing for adults. She has written fourteen books--
Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen
On the Stroll
In Every Woman's Life...
Drinking the Rain
A Good Enough Daughter
To Love What Is: A Marriage Transformed
A Marriage Agreement and Other Essays: Four Decades of Feminist Writing
two books on the anarchist-feminist Emma Goldman:
To the Barricades (biography)
Red Emma Speaks (collection)
and three books for children:
Bosley on the Number Line
Awake and Asleep
Her work has appeared in, among other publications, The Nation, The Guardian, The New York Times, n+1, Salon, Dissent. Her books have been published in twelve languages. All her books for adults are currently available as ebooks, and many also in paper.
For descriptions of some of these works, click on WRITINGS on the main menu.
Alix has taught writing and literature at New York University, The New School, Yale, the Universities of Colorado, Arizona, Southern Maine, and Hawaii, where she held the Citizen's Chair. She leads writing workshops and has lectured widely throughout the United States. Most recently, she gave a workshop titled "Structuring the Novel" at the Jackson Hole Writers Conference and a master class at New York University's Graduate Writing Program on the topic "Fiction or Memoir: How to Choose."
In 1979 Alix was awarded the DeWitt Wallace/Readers Digest Fellowship; in 1982 she was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome; in 1983 she received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in fiction; in 1982-4 she was VP of the PEN American Center; in 1998 she was a fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation Center in Bellagio, Italy; in 2000 she received the Woman 2000 Trailblazer Award from the Mayor of Cleveland; in 2001 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Case Western Reserve University; and in 2010 she received the American Jewish Press Association's Simon Rockower Award. She is listed in Feminists Who Changed America, 1963-1975 (2006) and in Who's Who in America.