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Jane Smiley

Pulitzer Prize-winning Author & Essayist

Jane Smiley

Born in Los Angeles, California, Jane Smiley grew up in a suburb of St. Louis, earned an A.B. at Vassar College, and an M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. While working towards her doctorate, she spent a year studying in Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar and from 1981 to 1996 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 novel A Thousand Acres won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992, and her novel The All True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton won the 1999 Spur Award for Best Novel of the West. She has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1987. Her novel Horse Heaven was short-listed for the Orange Prize in 2002, and her latest novel, Private Life, was chosen as one of the best books of 2010 by The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post.

She has contributed to a wide range of magazines and newspapers, including The New Yorker, Elle, Outside, The New York Times, Harper's, The American Prospect, Practical Horseman, The Guardian, The Nation, Real Simple, and Playboy, and she regularly blogged for The Huffington Post between 2005 and 2008.

In addition to novels for adults, she has written several works of nonfiction, including Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, a history and anatomy of the novel as a form, and The Man Who Invented the Computer, an account of the complex and sometimes amazing circumstances that led to one of the most important inventions of the 20th century. She has also published a five volume horse series for young adults. Her most recent novels Some Luck, Early Warning and Golden Age compromise The Last Hundred Years trilogy covering one hundred years in the life of an Iowa family.

Click here for our interview with Jane Smiley in 2013, and read about what inspired her to be writer.

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