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reader. writer. editor. teacher. tutor.

I was born on April 1, 1940, in Brooklyn, New York, though my parents, Marguerite and Melville Shaw, lived and worked in Manhattan at the time. At some unremembered point in my early childhood, we moved to Jackson Heights, Queens, and in 1950 to Port-au-Prince Haiti, my home until 1962.


My elementary schools were P.S. 89 and the international Union School in Port-au-Prince. After four years as a boarder at the Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, PA, I attended Connecticut College for Women (as it was called then) in New London, CT, and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where I earned a B.A. in English and a Michigan teaching credential in 1961. I also studied for the Teaching Diploma at the University of Sheffield in England during a semester abroad. After college, I taught sixth grade at Union School, followed by high school English at the Escuela de Enseñanza Secondaria in San Salvador, El Salvador, where my father had been appointed Commercial Attaché for the U.S. Embassy.


In 1963, I moved to Los Angeles, taught English briefly at middle and high school levels in the city and in La Cañada before joining the faculty of Westridge School for Girls in Pasadena in 1964, where I remained for the next 40 years. My activities during this time were varied since I was often part-time, moved in and out of English, grades 8-12, taught 8th grade Spanish, served terms as department chair, took leaves of absence and sabbaticals before retiring in 2004. While part-time at Westridge, I completed an M.A. in English at California State University at Los Angeles in 1967, and an M.F.A. in English (creative writing) at the University of California at Irvine in 1977. At intervals, I taught English and creative writing at Westlake School for Girls (now Harvard-Westlake), creative writing at UC Irvine, expository writing at Occidental College, Images of Women in Fiction at UCLA Extension, and conducted private seminars in fiction written by women and in Latin American literature in Beverly Hills. Between 1990 and 1992, I taught English as a volunteer at a sanctuary house, sponsored by All Saints Episcopal church in Pasadena, for Salvadoran civil war exiles. 


Land of Hunchbacks, my novel set in Haiti, was published in 1988, by CIDIHCA, a small press in Montreal.


My husband, Ernst Lipschutz, whom I married in 1967, was a sole practitioner and trial lawyer. Together we collected Haitian and other art and were partners for a time with Caleb Leys to import and sell inexpensive, naive Haitian paintings. Our collection was shown at several Los Angeles galleries, at Occidental College, and at UCLA. During this period, I gave lectures and published articles on Haitian art in Black Art and Neworld magazines. We adopted two children, David in 1971, now a public interest attorney and advocate for Medicare in Washington, D.C., husband to Katharine Attar, father of Farah and Alexander, and Sirene in 1980, a tribal therapist in Flagstaff AZ, wife to Rob Massatti, mother of Asa Ernst, and Fritz Theodore. Ernst Lipschutz died of pancreatic cancer in 1995.


Since retirement, I have added Greece, Egypt, India, and parts of Southeast Asia to my earlier travels in the Caribbean, Central America, and Western Europe. I continue to write, travel, and to teach and tutor privately.

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