Jane Smiley

Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.

– Jane Smiley

1339

born in Los Angeles, California, The United States,  September 26, 1949

gender: female

Jane Smiley is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist.Born in Los Angeles, California, Smiley grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, and graduated from John Burroughs School. She obtained a A.B. at Vassar College, then earned a M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. While working towards her doctorate, she also spent a year studying in Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar. From 1981 to 1996, she taught at Iowa State University. Smiley published her first novel,Barn Blind, in 1980, and won a 1985 O. Henry Award for her short story “Lily”, which was published in The Atlantic Monthly. Her best-selling A Thousand Acres, a story based on William Shakespeare’s King Lear, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992. It was adapted into a film of the same title in 1997. In 1995 she wrote her sole television script produced, for an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. Her novella The Age of Grief was made into the 2002 film The Secret Lives of Dentists.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel (2005), is a non-fiction meditation on the history and the nature of the novel, somewhat in the tradition of E. M. Forster’s seminal Aspects of the Novel, that roams from eleventh century Japan’s Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji to twenty-first century Americans chick lit.

In 2001, Smiley was elected a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters.
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11 thoughts on “Jane Smiley

  1. September 26, 1949: Happy 64th birthday, Jane Smiley!
    The novelist’s goal was to write a book in each of the four major narrative forms—a tragedy (A Thousand Acres), an epic (The Greenlanders), a comedy (Moo), and a romance (The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton).

  2. So true. Just looking at books piled up or open on a table is relaxing. Thank you for the info on Smiley:)

  3. She’s absolutely correct!!!

  4. A thousand acres was definitely a good read!

  5. Never lonely with a book around.

    • I’m with you on that one.
      “Leaving any bookstore is hard, especially on a day in August, when the street outside burns and glares, and the books inside are cool and crisp to the touch; especially on a day in January, when the wind is blowing, the ice is treacherous, and the books inside seem to gather together in colorful warmth. It’s hard to leave a bookstore any day of the year, though, because a bookstore is one of the few places where all the cantankerous, conflicting, alluring voices of the world co-exist in peace and order and the avid reader is as free as a person can possibly be, because she is free to choose among them.”
      ― Jane Smiley

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