Carla Kaplan is the Davis Distinguished Professor of American Literature at Northeastern University, where, as the Founding Director of the university's Humanities Center, she created a conversational hub dedicated to diversity. She has held positions at Yale University, the University of Southern California, and the University of Illinois and also teaches writing through arts councils and writers' centers.
Kaplan's previous books include Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters, the first published collection of a major African American woman's letters. This melding of biography, cultural history, and correspondence drew on nearly fifty archives and was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award, a New York Times Notable Book, a New York magazine "top five" book of the season, a Book-of-the-Month Club pick, and the subject of feature articles in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times.
She is also the author of The Erotics of Talk: Women's Writing and Feminist Paradigms and the editor of numerous works of African American literature, including Hurston's long-lost book of folklore, Every Tongue Got to Confess: Negro Folk-Tales From the Gulf States; Nella Larsen's Harlem Renaissance novels Passing and Quicksand, and a lost work of the black experience, Dark Symphony, by Elizabeth Laura Adams, as well as occasional pieces for such publications as The Los Angeles Times and The Nation. She lectures widely on literature and culture.
Miss Anne in Harlem draws on Kaplan's thirty years as a white scholar in Black Studies to explore cultural crossovers. Her next book, a biography of Jessica Mitford, the rebellious daughter of eccentric British peers—a woman with a wicked sense of humor who gave up wealth and privilege to become an American activist and, eventually, one of the most important American muckrakers of the twentieth century—will also be published by HarperCollins.
Kaplan has received such academic honors as the Robert D. Klein Award, the Mary L. Cornille Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Wellesley College, the Fannie Hurst Professorship at Washington University, and others, as well as fellowships from The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Public Library's Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Culture, the NEH, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the National Humanities Center, the Harry Ransom Center, the Beinecke Library, and elsewhere. In May 2014, on the basis of Miss Anne in Harlem, Carla was elected a Fellow of the Society of American Historians.
Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Kaplan grew up in Evanston, Illinois, spending summers in Cape Cod and going to camp at Circle Pines Center, one of the nation's first interracial cooperatives; she lives in Boston and Wellfleet, Massachusetts.