Ms. Rene Denfeld

Oregon, United States

Member Since: 03/27/2018

Rene Denfeld is an acclaimed novelist, death row investigator, activist, and foster-adoptive mom. Her first novel, The Enchanted (Harper 2014) generated outstanding acclaim and numerous awards, including a prestigious French Prix award and the ALA Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Her second novel, The Child Finder (Harper 2017), was an instant bestseller and also has led to much praise. Rene is the author of numerous essays, including a popular NYT Modern Love essay on her journey as a foster mother, "Four Castaways Make a Family"  Rene's novels are inspired by her work with men and women on death row as well as indigent defense services, including working as the Chief Investigator for the public defenders and helping sex trafficking victims. Rene has written about coming from a background of severe poverty and abuse, including a stepfather who is a register predatory sex offender. In 2017 she was awarded the prestigious Break The Silence award in Washington, D.C, for her justice work. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her children, all adopted from foster care.  


Twitter Username: @ReneDenfeld


  • The Enchanted: A Novel , Harper (March 2014)
  • The Child Finder: A Novel , Harper (September 2017)


  • French Prix du Premier Roman Etranger(2014)
  • ALA Medal for Excellence in Fiction(2014)
  • Carnegie Medal for Fiction—longlist(2014)
  • Flaherty-Dunnan Prize, Center for Fiction—finalist(2014)
  • Texas Lariat Award(2014)
  • Oregonian's Best Book of the Year(2014)
  • Foyle's Best Fiction of the Year(2014)
  • IMPAC longlist (2015)
  • Best Book of the Year: Powells(2014)
  • National Break The Silence Award (for justice work)(2017)


  • Novelist
  • Death Row Investigator & Exonerator at Indigent Defense Services
  • Chief Investigator at Public Defenders

Genres of Interest

Fiction, Creative nonfiction