Jacob M. Appel

Jacob M. Appel (born February 21, 1973) is an American author, poet, bioethicist, physician, lawyer and social critic.[1][2] He is best known for his short stories, his work as a playwright, and his writing in the fields of reproductive ethics, organ donation, neuroethics and euthanasia.[1] Appel's novel The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up won the Dundee International Book Prize in 2012.[3][4][5] He is Director of Ethics Education in Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

Jacob M. Appel
Born (1973-02-21) February 21, 1973
New York, New York, U.S.
EducationBrown University (BA, MA)
Columbia University (MA, MPhil, MD)
New York University (MFA)
Harvard University (JD)
Union University, New York (MS)
City University of New York, Queens (MFA)
Mount Sinai Medical Center (MPH)
Genreshort story, essay, drama, novel, poem


Appel was born in the Bronx and raised in Scarsdale, New York,[6] and Branford, Connecticut.[7] His family is Jewish.[8] He completed his BA at Brown University with double majors in English and American literature and in history (1995).[9] He has seven master's degrees: from Brown (MA in European history, 1996),[10] Columbia University (MA in American history, 1998, and MPhil, 2000),[11] New York University (MFA in creative writing with a focus in fiction, 2000),[12][13][14][15] Albany Medical College, constituent of the Union University of New York (MS in bioethics, 2012), and then completed his MFA in playwriting from Queens College of the City University of New York (2013)[16] and MPH from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (2014)[17][18] He holds a JD from Harvard Law School (2003)[19][20][21] and an MD from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (2009).[22] He completed his residency and fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and is a practicing psychiatrist there.[23][24] He is also licensed to practice law in New York and Rhode Island.[25]

Fiction writer and playwright

Appel is a "prolific"[26] short story writer. His fiction has been published in two hundred fifteen[1] literary journals including Agni,[27] The Alaska Quarterly Review,[28] The Gettysburg Review,[29] The Missouri Review,[30] Shenandoah, StorySouth[31] and Virginia Quarterly Review.[32] His first story collection, Scouting for the Reaper, won Black Lawrence Press's Hudson Prize in 2012.[33] Among the other awards he has won for his short stories are those sponsored by the Boston Review (1998)[34] and New Millennium Writings (2004, 2007, 2008).[35][36][37] He won the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Award for best short story in 2004[38] and a Sherwood Anderson Foundation grant in 2005.[39] His fiction has been short-listed for the O. Henry Prize (2001),[40] Best American Short Stories (2007,[41] 2008,[42] 2013), Best American Nonrequired Reading (2006,[43] 2007[44]), Best American Mystery Stories (2009)[45] and the Pushcart Prize (2006,[46] 2007,[47] 2011,[48] 2014,[49] 2019[50]).

His debut novel, The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up, won the 2012 Dundee International Book Prize and was published by Cargo in October 2012.[51][52] It was described as a "A darkly comic satire, full of insight into American culture" by Stephen Fry and "engaging, funny, ingenious, even charming" by Philip Pullman.[53] His book subsequently won The International Rubery Book Award in 2013.

His plays have been performed by companies across the U.S., including the Detroit Repertory Theatre, Heller Theatre, and Epilogue Players.[54][55]

Appel has taught creative writing at the Gotham Writers' Workshop and New York University.[56] He served as Writer-in-Residence at Yeshiva College in 2013.[57]


Academic bioethics

As a professional bioethicist, Appel has published in Hastings Center Report,[58][59][60] The Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics,[61] Bulletin of the History of Medicine,[62][63] The Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics,[64][65] The Journal of Medical Ethics,[66][67][68][69] The Journal of Bioethical Inquiry[70] and GeneWatch, the journal of the Council for Responsible Genetics.[71] He is the author of a "Bioethics in Action" curriculum for The New York Times.[72][73]

Appel is an advocate for the decriminalization of assisted suicide,[74] raising the possibility that this might be made available to both the terminally ill and those with intractable, long-term mental illness.[75][76] He has also defended the Groningen Protocol.[77] He has written in favor of abortion rights and fertility treatment for homosexuals, as well as against electronic medical records, which he sees as poorly secured against hacking.[78] He has also argued in favor of the legalization of prostitution, polygamy and incest between consenting adults.[79] He has raised concerns regarding the possibility that employers will require their employees to use pharmaceuticals for cognitive enhancement and has urged that death row inmates be eligible to receive kidney transplants.[80][81] He generated considerable controversy for endorsing the mandatory use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis as part of the in vitro fertilization process to prevent the implantation of embryos carrying severe genetic defects. Appel has also written in support of an "open border" immigration policy. Among the causes that Appel has embraced is opposition to the forcible feeding of hunger strikers, both in domestic prisons and at Guantanamo Bay.[82][83] He has also written that exposure to literature should be a medical school admissions requirement.[84]

He has taught medical ethics at New York University,[85][86] Columbia University,[87] Mount Sinai School of Medicine[88][89][90] and Brown University's Alpert Medical School.[91][92][93]


Appel writes for both The Huffington Post and Opposing Views. He has staked out a libertarian position of many bioethical issues, advocating a worldview that he describes as "a culture of liberty."[94] He has also authored opinion pieces in The New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Post, Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Albany Times-Union, Tucson Citizen, Detroit Free Press, New Haven Register, Baltimore Sun and The Providence Journal.[95][96][97][98][99][100][101][102] The Best American Essays series named his nonfiction pieces as "notable essays" in the years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017, and received "special mention" from the Pushcart Prize in 2012 and 2017.[103][104][105][106][106][47][107]




  1. Nagamatsu, Sequoia "A Few Words with the Ubiquitous Jacob M. Appel" Prince Mincer Journal http://primemincer.com/ confirmed 26 April 2013
  2. "THE CYNIC IN EXTREMIS by Jacob M. Appel | Kirkus Reviews" via www.kirkusreviews.com.
  3. Dundee International Book Prize won by Jacob M Appel, BBC, 25 October 2012
  4. Book review: The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, Jacob Appel, The Scotsman, Lifestyle, 17 Nov 2012
  5. Jacob M Appel named as Dundee International Book Prize winner, The Courier, 9 January 2013
  6. Rosenblum, Constance. Boulevard of Dreams, New York University Press, 2009, P. 174
  7. Appel, JM. Phoning Home. University of South Carolina Press, 2015
  8. Appel, Jacob M. (2014). Phoning home : essays. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 9781611173710.
  9. "Mount Siani School of Medicine Psychiatry Residency Class of 2013" (PDF).
  10. "Fresh Ink". www.brownalumnimagazine.com.
  11. "Jacob Appel'09: Doctor, Lawyer, Writer, Teacher, Tour Guide".
  13. Notes, Bellevue Literary Review, Fall2005
  14. Columbia Medicine, Jacob Appel’09: Doctor, Lawyer, Writer, Teacher, Tour Guide, 4 October 2011
  15. Exposure, Sycamore Review, 1 Jul 2007
  16. "WIPS Conversation: Jacob M. Appel on His Work in Progress".
  17. "Protean novelist is comfortable on the edge".
  18. "Nonconsensual Blood Draws and Dual Loyalty: When Bodily Integrity Conflicts with the Public Health".
  19. Arborphilia tackles social issues, The Detroit News, Oct 27, 2006
  20. Interview with Prime Mincer
  21. Sweden Asks: Should Convicted Murderers Practice Medicine? Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics / Volume 19 / Issue 04 / October 2010, pp 559-562
  22. Jacob Appel ’09: Doctor, Lawyer, Writer, Teacher, Tour Guide, Columbia Medicine, October 04, 2011, Available online at
  23. "Harsh Treatment at Guantánamo" NYT April 21, 2013
  24. http://www.washingtontimes.com, The Washington Times. "APPEL: The silent rise of the DNA nannies". The Washington Times.
  25. "Biography - Jacob M. Appel". jacobmappel.virb.com.
  26. Lange, Sarah C. "Writers with day jobs, take heart," The Writer March 24, 2011.
  27. "The Frying Finn in AGNI".
  28. Appel, Jacob M. "Invasive Species," Alaska Quarterly Review, 24(3&4), P. 143
  29. Gettysburg Review, Volume 23, Issue 2, Summer 2010
  30. Missouri Review 30.1 (Spring 2007): "Love and Loneliness"
  31. "Fiction". www.storysouth.com.
  32. Virginia Quarterly Review. Summer2009, Vol. 85 Issue 3, p168-180.
  33. Bartleby Snopes "Author Showcase: Jacob M Appel" September 15, 2012
  34. "Shell Game with Organs", short story by Jacob Appel, online at the Boston Review site, retrieved August 10, 2011.
  35. "Enoch Arden's One Night Stands". Archived from the original on 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
  36. "Hazardous Cargoes". Archived from the original on 2008-12-21. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
  37. "The Appraisal" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-09-26. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
  38. Larson, Susan. "Winner's Circle" New Orleans Times-Picayune December 5, 2004
  39. Greensboro News & Record, October 23, 2005
  40. O Henry Award 2001 (Larry Dark ed Random House 2001)
  41. The Best American Short Stories 2007 (Stephen King, Heidi Pitlor eds.)
  42. The Best American Short Stories 2008 (Salman Rushdie, Heidi Pitlor eds.)
  43. The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2006 Dave Eggers (ed.) Mariner Books 2006
  44. The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007 Dave Eggers (ed.) Mariner Books 2007
  45. The Best American Mystery Stories 2009 Penzler, Otto and Deaver, Jeffrey(eds.), Houghton Mifflin, New York, 2009.
  46. The Pushcart Prize XXX : Best of the Small Presses (Bill Henderson ed) 2006
  47. The Pushcart Prize XXXI : Best of the Small Presses (Bill Henderson ed) 2007
  48. The Pushcart Prize XXXV: Best of the Small Presses (Bill Henderson ed.) 2011
  49. The Pushcart Prize XXXVIII : Best of the Small Presses (Bill Henderson ed.) 2014
  50. The Pushcart Prize XLIII : Best of the Small Presses (Bill Henderson ed.) 2019
  51. "Dundee International Book Prize won by Jacob M Appel - BBC News". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
  52. Runcie, Charlotte. "Jacob M Appel's The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up wins Dundee Book Prize". The List. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
  53. "The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up - Kindle edition by Jacob M. Appel. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
  54. Gridley, Jesse. "Lighting Up the Stage," Writers Digest, December 2008, P. 50
  55. Shade, Karen. "Belles Are Back: Players Revisit Characters" Tulsa World, June 24, 2007
  56. Faculty Profile: Jacob M. Appel, August 21, 2010
  57. "Writing Minor | Yeshiva University". www.yu.edu.
  58. Appel, JM. Organ Solicitation on the Internet: Every Man for Himself?, Hastings Center Report, 2005
  59. Appel, JM. May Doctors Refuse Infertility Treatments to Gay Patients? Hastings Center Report, Volume 36, Number 4, July–August 2006, pp. 20-21
  60. A Appel, JM. Suicide Right for the Mentally Ill?: A Swiss Case Opens a New Debate, Hastings Center Report, 2007
  61. Appel, JM. Smoke and Mirrors: One Case for Ethical Obligations of the Physician as Public Role Model, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics (2009), 18: 95-100 Cambridge University Press
  62. Appel, JM. "Physicians are not Bootleggers": The Short, Peculiar Life of the Medicinal Alcohol Movement, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Volume 82, Number 2, Summer 2008, pp. 355-386
  63. Appel, JM. A duty to kill? A duty to die? Rethinking the euthanasia controversy of 1906, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 2004
  64. Appel, JM. English high court orders separation of conjoined twins, The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 2000
  65. Appel, JM. Research Guidelines: Changes UrgedJM Appel - The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 2001
  66. Appel, JM. Is all fair in biological warfare? The controversy over genetically engineered biological weapons, Journal of Medical Ethics, 2009
  67. Appel, JM. Sex rights for the disabled? J Med Ethics 2010;36:152-154
  68. Appel, JM. Mixed motives, mixed outcomes when accused parents won’t agree to withdraw care, Journal of Medical Ethics 2009;35:635-637
  69. Appel, JM. Defining death: when physicians and families differ[PDF] Journal of Medical Ethics, 2005
  70. Appel, JM. Neonatal Euthanasia: Why Require Parental Consent?, Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Volume 6, Number 4, 477-482
  71. Appel, JM. "The Monster’s Law: A History of Chimera Research," Volume 19, Number 2. March–April 2006
  72. Appel, Jacob M. (January 10, 2018). "Bioethics in Action, Part I: Helping Students Explore Difficult Questions in Health Care" via NYTimes.com.
  73. Appel, Jacob M. (January 11, 2018). "Bioethics in Action, Part II: Teaching About the Challenge of Balancing the Needs of Patients" via NYTimes.com.
  74. Room for Debate: The Power of the ‘Culture War’ NYT April 10, 2012
  76. "Hastings Center Report". The Hastings Center. September 17, 2015.
  77. Mike Hinkle, "Europe’s euthanasia enthusiasm is alarming," Edmonton Sun, April 26, 2013
  78. Chicago Tribune article
  79. J M Appel When the boss turns pusher: a proposal for employee protections in the age of cosmetic neurology J Med Ethics 2008; 34: 616-618
  80. Appel, JM. "Wanted Dead or Alive? Kidney Transplantation in Inmates Awaiting Execution," The Journal of Clinical Ethics. Volume 16, Number 1. Spring 2005. PMID 15915846
  81. Appel, Jacob. Harsh Treatment at Guantánamo, The New York Times, April 21, 2013
  82. Appel, Jacob. "Rethinking Force-Feeding: Legal and Ethical Aspects of Physician Participation in the Termination of Hunger Strikes in American Prisons," Public Affairs Quarterly. Volume 26 • Number 4 October 2012
  83. Letter: Literature Should Be a Medical School Admissions Requirement, The Atlantic, 5 August 2018
  84. Republican-American, "Resurgence of pro-life sentiment," 1 Jul 2009
  85. Venus Theatre's 2009 Season, Washington Post 17 Dec 2008
  86. Literary Notes,Greensboro News & Record 23 Oct 2005
  87. Appel, Jacob, "Toward a three-parent baby," Providence Journal 13 Dec 2009
  88. Washington Times, " The silent rise of the DNA nannies," 18 Nov 2010
  89. The enemy within, The Boston Globe, 21 Nov 2010
  90. Maimin, Sybil. "Dr. Jacob Appel, Bioethicist," Education Update, Jan-feb 2012
  91. Columbia Medicine Jacob Appel’09: Doctor, Lawyer, Writer, Teacher, Tour Guide 4 Oct 2011
  92. "Meet the Author," The Missouri Review, Volume 30, Number 1, Spring 2007 P. 28
  93. A Culture of Liberty Huffington Post, July 21, 2009.
  94. Finally give N.Y. families end-of-life decisionmaking power, New York Daily News, Sept. 6, 2009
  95. Guest Opinion, Benefits of requiring genetic testing for in vitro fertilization are clear, Tucson Citizen, March 10, 2009
  96. JM Appel. Why shared medical database is wrong prescription. Orlando Sentinel, December 30, 2008
  97. Appel, Jacob M. 'Gene-nappers,’ like identity thieves, new threat of digital age
  98. Appel, Jacob M. The mindfulness pandemic: a symptom or cure?
  99. Archived 2012-03-06 at the Wayback Machine, The New Haven Register, Nov. 5, 2009
  100. Health Care Hard to Recognize, Tough to Define. Albany Times-Union, Nov. 12, 2009
  101. Report, Post Staff (September 14, 2011). "Are we too afraid of suicide?".
  102. The Best American Essays 2011 (Robert Atwan, Edwige Dandicat eds.) 2011 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012. P. 233.
  103. The Best American Essays 2012 (Robert Atwan, David Brooks eds.) 2012 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012. P. 302.
  104. The Best American Essays 2013 (ed. Robert Atwan) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013
  105. The Best American Essays 2017 (ed. Robert Atwan) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017
  106. The Pushcart Prize XLI : Best of the Small Presses (Bill Henderson ed) 2017
  107. Motika, Libby. Bonitanicum Seedlings. Palisadian Post June 1, 2006
  108. Shade, Karen "Round the Bend Players offer funny, sometimes dark story," Tulsa World, August 24, 2006
  109. Readling, Mike. "IRSC's Fine Arts Season promises mix of dance, drama, musical theater," Treasure Coast Palm August 28, 2009
  110. Could you have done better? August 16, 2008
  111. Highlights of fall season, Detroit Free Press, August 23, 2009
  112. Reinink, Amy, "Women claim a dramatic spot in Laurel," Business Gazette, August 27, 2009
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