Laura Jacobs is a novelist, journalist, and dance critic. The Bird Catcher, her second novel, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2009, and in paperback from Picador in 2010. Her first novel, Women About Town, a Literary Guild selection, was published by Viking in 2002, with French and Polish editions, followed by a paperback from Penguin.
Jacobs has been a staff writer at Vanity Fair magazine since 1995, where she has written award-winning pieces on design, fashion, and the performing arts. She has profiled the mid-century American designers Norman Norell, Charles James, Adrian, and Mainbocher, and has also made a specialty of iconic American women, including Emily Post, Gypsy Rose Lee, Suzy Parker, Julia Child, and Grace Kelly.
Jacobs began writing dance criticism in Chicago at the Chicago Reader. She has held dance critic posts at The Boston Phoenix, The New Leader, and also wrote a column about dance for The Atlantic Monthly. Since 1994, Jacobs has been the dance critic at The New Criterion. In 2006 a collection of her New Criterion essays was published by Dance & Movement Press: Landscape with Moving Figures, A Decade on Dance. That same year Francis Mason, the distinguished editor of Ballet Review, wrote, “Laura Jacobs of The New Criterion is our best dance critic.”
From 1987 to 1995, Jacobs was the editor in chief of Stagebill, the national performing arts program magazine whose constituents included Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Chicago theater, and orchestras and opera companies around the country. During the late 1990s, Jacobs wrote fashion criticism for both The Modern Review and The New Republic. She collaborated with the incomparable fashion designer Geoffrey Beene on Beauty and the Beene (Abrams, 1999) and edited his last book, Beene by Beene (The Vendome Press, 2005). Jacobs also wrote the text for The Art of Haute Couture (Abbeville, 1995).
Jacobs hails from Chicago, Illinois, and holds a B.A. in English Literature from Northwestern University. She is married to the writer James Wolcott, and lives on New York’s upper west side.