Clara Silverstein


Clara Silverstein (photo by Betsy Bassett)

Clara Silverstein is the author of four books, a blogger about historic recipes at, and a long-time writer in the Boston area. She has taught at Grub Street, Inc., consulted with individual writers, and worked with young adults as a tutor and at the Books of Hope literacy empowerment program. From 2008 to 2017, she directed the Chautauqua Writers' Center, which sponsors creative writing workshops and author programs at the Chautauqua Institution.

Clara's first novel, Secrets in a House Divided, is forthcoming from Mercer University Press in September 2018. Set in Richmond, Virginia in 1864-65, it explores the relationships between masters and slaves, husbands and wives, parents and children, as the Civil War drives them to a flash point. Though the story is set in the past, its focus on the roots of racism resonates today.

Clara’s memoir White Girl: A Story of School Desegregation (University of Georgia Press) was released in paperback in 2013. It chronicles her experiences as a white child bused to predominantly African American schools in the 1970s under a court desegregation order in Richmond, Virginia. She has spoken about this experience to educational groups around the country, participated in dialogues about race, and interviewed others about their experiences during busing.

Clara's cookbook, A White House Garden Cookbook (Red Rock Press), looks at the many ways that First Lady Michelle Obama inspired a nation of healthy eaters. Starting with lettuce, tomatoes, and dozens more crops at the White House, the book is filled with ideas to get children and families excited about harvesting and cooking locally grown vegetables. Recipes come from past and present White House kitchens, as well as kid-friendly community gardens nationwide.

Clara's first cookbook, The Boston Chef’s Table (Globe Pequot Press), presents more than 100 contemporary recipes from the city's top chefs, including Jody Adams, Todd English, Barbara Lynch, and Ming Tsai – plus a few traditional favorites. Customized for home cooks, the recipes are printed with a profile about each chef, cooking hints, and Boston food lore.

Clara is also co-author of The New England Soup Factory Cookbook (Thomas Nelson), a collection of recipes from chef and company founder Marjorie Druker. A top seller in the soup and stew category on, the book offers 100 traditional and creative soup recipes, as well as sandwiches and salads from Marjorie's award-winning restaurant.

A journalist for more than 20 years, Clara has published articles in Health magazine, Prevention, Runner's World, American Heritage, and the Boston Globe. Formerly a food writer at the Boston Herald daily newspaper, Clara for 13 years informed readers about the city’s chefs, restaurants, and food trends. She also contributed to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. Her essays have been broadcast on NPR's "All Things Considered" and published in many literary journals.

Clara received a M.A. in History from the University of Massachusetts Boston and a B.A. in American Studies from Wesleyan University. When not writing, Clara runs with far more enthusiasm than speed. She finished the Boston Marathon in 2014 as a fundraiser for Newton Community Farm and in 2008 with a team that raised money for the Bottom Line educational charity. She has also finished two other marathons, plus several triathlons, shorter road races, and the Reach the Beach relay race. Clara and her husband live near Boston and are the parents of two children.


Historical Fiction
The Civil War drives the complicated bonds between husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and slaves, to a flash point. As Richmond veers towards its inexorable fall to the Union army, the novel exposes the forces behind the upheaval over slavery whose echoes continue today.
A white student’s story from the front lines of school desegregation. "A skilled, moving account."
A chronicle with recipes of the first season of Michelle Obama's vegetable garden at the White House. “A charming volume...aimed at families with young children, with colorful pages that explain the vegetables.” - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
More than 100 recipes for contemporary cuisine and traditional favorites from Boston's top chefs
Recipes from Chef Marjorie Druker, founder of the New England Soup Factory. "An instant classic, a must-have for soup lovers" - Publishers Weekly

Author Appearances and More