Avid Twitter/Facebook poster on matters and initiatives literary, Ms. Ciabattari seems to lift her industrious fingers from the keyboard only long enough to take the pulse of the written word. Her stories have appeared in some of America’s most prestigious magazines and quarterlies—and also in some edgier underground grottoes, where the hip hang out online. She writes the kinds of stories that snag a “special mention” from the Pushcart people. Twice. Her critical work, for which she is probably better known (if not more highly regarded), seems to appear everywhere—NPR, DailyBeast, LA Times, New York Times, BookForum, Chicago Tribune and TruthDig, to name a few. Ms. Ciabattari does things like interview Nathan Englander, contemplate Alice Munro, chew the fat with Jonathan Safran Foer, and talk with Cynthia Ozick about book reviews, a subject for which Ms. Ozick could hardly wish a more intimate interlocutor.
When you do all this particularly well, people will want you to sit at a desk and help them. The National Book Critics Circle persuaded Ms. Ciabattari to do just that—and from 2008 to 2011 she was president there. She’s mixed it up with garden variety celebrity, too, putting famous faces to words for Parade magazine for a while. But most importantly Jane Ciabattari is capable of ending a story like this: “I think of the last time we spoke. The sound in the trees. The heavy leaves, brown with age, heavy as leather, letting go.”