KJ Dell’Antonia
Headshot for KJ Dell’Antonia
Agent: Laurie Abkemeier (Nonfiction); Caryn Karmatz Rudy (Fiction)
Personal Website

KJ Dell’Antonia is a novelist and former journalist and editor at to the New York Times, where she covered the personal and policy aspects of family for many years.

She grew up in Texas and Kansas and attended Kansas State University, then spent her twenties locked in a struggle to marry her upbringing with the mysterious ways of Manhattan and East Coast culture and reconcile career choices that included practicing law at Cravath, Swaine and Moore and the New York County District Attorney's office with her childhood desire to be Anne of Green Gables, only with more publishing success. During the first internet boom, she became the worst Vice President of Business Development ever at an otherwise successful start-up.

Her subsequent layoff proved the perfect excuse to finally pursue journalism, and a move to a small town in New Hampshire didn’t stop her from eventually taking over the New York Times’ Motherlode blog. Her first book, How to Be a Happier Parent, developed as a result of her work there, but her heart was always in fiction. Her memories of the two chicken restaurants in the Kansas towns where her parents grew up sparked the creation of Chicken Mimi’s and Chicken Frannie’s, the two restaurants at the center of The Chicken Sisters, and the story grew from there. Her second novel,  In Her Boots, is about the gap between the adults we think we have become, the child our mother will always see and our horrible fear that our mother is right—a story that grew from the complex relationship that every author has with the successful self we portray on the outside and the doubting voices that will always hammer away inside of our heads.

KJ lives in New Hampshire with her husband, four children and assorted horses, chickens, dogs and cats. She is the co-host of the #AmWriting Podcast and is hard at work on her third novel.

Praise for In Her Boots

“Heart-warming and complicated and uplifting. I couldn’t put it down. Even though I usually prefer books with supernatural goats that eat people.”—Jenny Lawson, author of Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things and Broken (In the Best Possible Way)

“Funny, heartfelt and un-put-downable,In Her Bootsis the perfect read and Rhett/Maggie is the exact heroine we all want to be—Strong, vulnerable and totally relatable. Going home shouldn't be this tough or this entertaining.”—Susan Mallery, author of The Stepsisters

“Witty, charming, and utterly unputdownable,In Her Bootsis the perfect reminder that living life on our own terms might just be what it’s all about. Once again, KJ Dell’ Antonia has knocked it out of the park with a story that will work its way right into readers’ hearts.”—Kristy Woodson Harvey, author of Under the Southern Sky

“What can be better than a book that surprises and delights you on every page and yet at the same time speaks so clearly to the familiar joys—and challenges—of friendship, family, and self-discovery?...You’ll gobble this one up and then push it on your best friend—and she’ll love you for it!”—Kelly Harms, author of The Seven Day Switch

In Her Bootsis such a charming, funny, original story that I wished it were a blanket I could wrap myself in. Rhett is a unique heroine, the likes of which I haven't come across in contemporary fiction before, and I felt like I was tagging along with a close friend as I went along on her journey. KJ Dell'Antonia is a fabulous writer andIn Her Bootsis expertly plotted and full of the perfect little details that make a book sing.”—Elyssa Friedland, author of Last Summer at the Golden Hotel

“Both peppy and heartfelt,In Her Bootsis a tender page-turning romp about running from both your past and your truth, only to discover that, just like real-life, you can only run for so long before it’s time to turn back home.”—Allison Winn Scotch, author of Cleo Mcdougal Regrets Nothing

“Full of quirky twists and heartfelt humor,In HerBoots is a wildly entertaining page turner about forging your own path and finding your way home again.”—Virginia Kantra, author of Meg & Jo

Praise for The Chicken Sisters


A January 2021 Country Living Front Porch Book Club Pick

"A charming, hilarious, feel-good story about the kind of bonds & rivalries only sisters can share. Also, a great present for your sister for the holidays!!"
Reese Witherspoon

The Chicken Sisters by KJ Dell’Antonia is a delightful look at sibling relationships and the unbreakable and bonds of family.”Real Simple

The Chicken Sisters is a pitch-perfect book with which to begin the New Year, when the spirit of starting anew and putting aside baggage (no matter how many centuries old it may be!), is exactly what we need. Well, that and a plate of fried chicken, of course.” Country Living

“If you prefer your family secrets served with a side of fried chicken, we highly recommend The Chicken Sisters…[a] funny, heartfelt book…”Hello Giggles

“A charming first novel about family, regrets, and second chances. Dell’Antonia deftly deals with issues of mental illness, marriage troubles, and dreams deferred, all the while telling a funny satire of reality TV. An utter delight from start to finish.”Booklist (starred review)

“Mae and Amanda are spirited characters, and their foibles are told with care and humor. Recommended for Food Network and HGTV watchers, this first novel is plucky, heartwarming, and a welcome distraction from the news of the day.”Library Journal 

“Be warned: you’ll crave fried chicken throughout.”Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Dell’Antonia writes convincingly and sympathetically about complicated family relationships, giving Mae and Amanda each relatable flaws. The Food Wars scenes are a fun peek behind the curtain of the reality TV world, and the small-town warmth of Merinac is comfortingly quirky. A charming and satisfying story about family bonds that will make meat eaters everywhere crave fried chicken.”Kirkus Reviews

"Nobody knows the humor and pathos of complicated family relationships better than K.J. Dell’Antonia, which is why this story about sisters and fried chicken and reality TV is such a satisfying read. It’s like the comfort-food of novels: warm, memorable, and wholly original. I loved it."—Laura Zigman, author of Separation Anxiety

    Putnam, 2023
    Putnam, 2022
    Putnam, 2020
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