“...the very system that had allowed me to adopt her also made me complicit in severing her roots.”

About Robin

Robin Reif is a writer and storyteller who’s published essays in The New York Times,  McSweeney’sOff-Assignment’s Letter to a Stranger columnGlamourSELF and Playbill, among others.  Her story, “Oranges,” will appear in The Missouri Review in early 2022. She’s also appeared several times at the Moth, the Magnet Theater in NYC and the Nest Brooklyn.  She’s currently working on a memoir of a too-good-to-be-true American family.

Published Work

Robin’s nonfiction includes personal essays, editorials, and reporting on culture, parenting and adoption, women at work, medicine and health, among other topics.

“Any alert woman could have seen it coming; the woman I was felt blindsided.”


2022 Jeffrey E Smith Editor's Prize Winner

The Missouri Review, Spring 2023

Featured Award

Robin won The Missouri Review 2022 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize for her forthcoming essay, "Someone"

One of the top 5 most popular stories of 2022 from Off Assignment

"These top 5 most popular on our website this year span continents, oceans, and emotional registers—but all leave us breathless"

To the Woman Whose Body I Washed...

Letters to a Stranger, Off Assignment

“Robin Reif’s impeccably rendered memoir “Oranges” . . . reveals how compassion can emerge from conflict.”

Speer Morgan, Editor-in-Chief
The Missouri Review (vol.44.4)


“Manhattan had suddenly become still as the winter woods, a shelter of solitude in which to think about living deliberately…”

Pandemic as Liminal Space

Leaning Out

“…when you pulled up in your truck, I hesitated…
How do you recognize someone who will hurt you?”

Letter to a Stranger


Featured Interview

Behind the Essay - “To the Greek Who Helped Me Jump In”

OA: What is the first thing you do when you arrive in a new place?

As most of my adult travel is for business, I’m largely in hotels and offices—which tends to undermine the perception of “place” as new and distinctive.

Letter to a Stranger


When you come from a big family, the range of stories you get to tell is exceedingly wide. Robin has appeared at the Moth, Magnet Theater and The Nest Brooklyn telling tales she was told to keep secret as a young girl growing up in Brooklyn.

Featured Blog Post

Toward a New Rite of Passage

Originally published in Leaning Out Knowing I had “aged out” about 3 years before my agency happened to mention it, I was prepared for the conversation, lawyer on hand, knew my terms for leaving. So, when my GM and Head of HR walked in one late January morning, and said “It’s time,” I took it…

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