Her novel, Seraglio (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2003), was called “both serious and enchanting” by Publishers Weekly. The New York Times Sunday Book Review said it was “a Horatio Alger story … and a micro-history of the Ottoman Empire.” In her research for the book, Ms. Wallach traveled to Turkey where she worked with experts in history, art and the Topkapi Palace.
Ms. Wallach is the author of Chanel: Her Style and Her Life (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 1998), the story of the 20th century’s most important female fashion designer. The book received a three-page review by John Updike in the New Yorker, and was recommended by Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire and Town & Country.
Over the course of the past fifteen years, much of it spent living and working in the Middle East, Ms. Wallach has co-authored Arafat: In the Eyes of the Beholder (Carol Publishing, 1991, updated 1997), a biography of Yasser Arafat ; The New Palestinians (Prima, 1992), a look at leading figures in the West Bank and Gaza ; and Still Small Voices (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988), the personal stories of ten Israelis and Palestinians during the intifada . Her work on the Arafat biography took her to Tunis, where she spent three months interviewing Arafat and other PLO officials; Egypt, where she met with PLO officials, Egyptian officials and Arafat family members; Syria, where she interviewed radical anti-Arafat Palestinian groups and high Syrian officials; Jordan, where, in addition to meetings with Arafat confidantes and family members, she had an extensive interview with His Majesty, the late King Hussein; and Israel, where she interviewed leading officials and met with the Defense Minister, the late Yitzhak Rabin.
As a frequent contributor to The Washington Post Magazine from 1982-1987, and as a contributor to Smithsonian Magazine and other periodicals, Janet Wallach has written cover story profiles of Queen Noor of Jordan; First Lady of Egypt Jihan Sadat; Iraqi Ambassador Nizar Hamdoon; Reza Pahlavi, would-be Shah of Iran; and Saudi entrepreneur Adnan Khashoggi.
Ms. Wallach is a Woodrow Wilson Institute Visiting Fellow and has taught at Bradford College; Earlham College; Longwood College; Ohio Wesleyan University; Stetson College; St. Olaph’s College; Susquehana College; and West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Janet Wallach has been a guest speaker at Arizona State University (T.E. Lawrence Symposium); the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs; Chautauqua Institution; The Cosmopolitan Club; The Explorers’ Club, Harmonie Club; Meridien House; the National Arts Club; Quinipiac College; St. Olaph’s College (Nobel Peace Prize Symposium); Wellesley College; Women’s Democratic Club; Women’s Republican Club; and Yale University.
She has appeared as a guest commentator on various television programs for the Cable News Network, A&E “Biography,” MSNBC, National Geographic, and network talk shows as well as on BBC and C-Span “Booknotes.” She co-hosted a nationally syndicated program, “Private Lives; Public People” on the Lifetime cable network.
Janet Wallach is a founding director and president emeritus of Seeds of Peace, a non-profit organization created by her late husband John Wallach. This year-round educational and leadership training program begins by bringing outstanding teen-agers from countries in conflict to a summer camp in Maine; it continues with follow-up workshops and seminars in the region, and with conferences in the U.S. and elsewhere. More than 4000 teenagers have graduated from Seeds of Peace. The program focuses on Israelis and Arabs, and also brings together Indians and Pakistanis, and Afghans, as well as American youngsters. In October 2000 Seeds of Peace received a Unesco peace prize.
Janet Wallach was born in New York City and received a B.A. degree from New York University. She has two sons, David Allyn and Michael Wallach.