J. E. Smyth is a film critic, historian, and contributing writer at Cineaste. She has written and edited several books, including a new edition of Jane Allen’s controversial Hollywood novel, I Lost My Girlish Laughter (2019); Nobody’s Girl Friday (2018), a history of the many high-powered women who worked in the golden age of the Hollywood studio system; and the acclaimed historian’s approach to classical Hollywood auteur theory, Fred Zinnemann and the Cinema of Resistance (2014).

She is the recipient of the Theatre Library Association’s Special Jury Prize (2019), the International Association of Media Historians’ Michael Nelson Prize (2009), and the Association of American Publishers Award (2010). She was a Getty Research Institute scholar-in-residence (2011-12) and contributed to the award-winning PBS documentary, Children of Giant (2015). In 2021, she was named an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences film scholar for her latest project, a biography of Screen Writers Guild president, labor leader, and feminist, Mary C. McCall Jr.

Smyth received degrees from Wellesley College (B.A. summa cum laude) and Yale University (M.A. History of Art, M.Phil. American Studies, Ph.D. Film Studies). She is Professor of History at the University of Warwick in England, where she has taught since 2005. She shares a house in the Midlands with an artist, a Tolkien aficionado, a pack of dogs, two rabbits, and a bird.

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