Joe Dworetzky

About Me

Joe Dworetzky is a decade deep into his second career as a writer, cartoonist and journalist. In his first career, he practiced law in Philadelphia for more than 35 years. He represented private and governmental clients in hundreds of financial restructurings and commercial disputes. He served as City Solicitor for the City of Philadelphia under Mayor Ed Rendell and in that capacity, he served as a Managing Partner of Drinker Biddle & Reath and a member of the Board of Hangley Aronchick.

From 2009 to 2013, Joe served as one of five members of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission with responsibility for the overall management of the city’s 250 public schools. Joe moved to San Francisco in 2011 and began writing fiction and pursuing a lifelong interest in cartooning. His first novel, Nine Digits, was published under the pen name Jay Duret in 2013 by Indigo Sea Press, and his short stories and creative non-fiction have appeared in dozens of literary magazines and journals. Joe’s editorial and cultural cartoons have appeared in a score of different publications. For the three years between 2016 and 2018, Joe posted a new cartoon every day.

In 2018 and 2019, Joe was a Fellow in the Distinguished Careers Institute at Stanford University, and his studies in that program kindled a passionate interest in journalism. In 2020 he earned a Master’s degree from Stanford’s journalism program. While at Stanford, he served as a staff writer and editorial cartoonist for The Stanford Daily and was a regular contributor to the Peninsula Press. In the summer of 2019, Joe worked on the metro desk of the L.A. Times as an intern. Since the fall of 2020, Joe has worked at Bay City News and Local News Matters, writing stories about matters affecting the Bay Area. Joe lives in San Francisco. His wife, Amy Banse, is the managing director and head of funds for Comcast Ventures, San Francisco. They have four children ranging from 20 to 38 and one grandson.

An Autobiography of a Pen Name, Now Deceased
“The best decision I ever made as a writer was to adopt a pen name..” from Nom de Plum by Jay Duret

While Joe was a practicing attorney he wrote fiction under the pen name of Jay Duret. His reasons for using a pen name are explained in this story. His first novel was published under the name Jay Duret, as have been most of his cartoons. Only when he started as a DCI Fellow at Stanford in 2018 did he begin to publish under his given name.

From the story Nom de Plume: “The best decision I ever made as a writer was to adopt a pen name, or more precisely, several pen names…however, as fine as a pen name is for literary cyber life, confusion can be created in more physical space. At a reading, particularly one with other authors, how does one introduce oneself? Am I Jay, the suave reader of the next short story, or am I that actual flesh and blood person who labored to produce that story under the name his parents settled on those many years ago? And what if at that very same reading there should be readers and writers that know me as Jay and friends and family members that use my given name? How awkward to stand in a cluster of chardonnay sippers from each camp and see my different identities crash into each other…”