Best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning Author
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.
In 1992 her best-selling A Thousand Acres, a story based on William Shakespeare's King Lear, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award and was later adapted into a film of the same name. Her novel The All True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton won the 1999 Spur Award for Best Novel of the West. Her novel Horse Heaven was short-listed for the Orange Prize in 2002.
Her nonfiction title, Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, is a meditation on the history and the nature of the novel, and in the tradition of E. M. Forster's seminal Aspects of the Novel, it roams from 11th century Japan's Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji to twenty-first century American chick lit. Smiley has also published The Man Who Invented the Computer, a history of the very peculiar and dramatic events surrounding the invention of that essential 21st century innovation. >Private Life,
Jane Smiley is also the author of The Horses of Oak Valley Ranch series, comprised of four novels for young readers: The Georges and the Jewels, A Good Horse, True Blue, and Pie in the Sky. The fifth, Gee Whiz, will be published in the Fall 2013.
Smiley has contributed to a wide range of magazines, including The New Yorker, Elle, Outside, The New York Times Magazine, Harper's, The American Prospect, Practical Horseman, The Guardian Sport Monthly, and Real Simple.
In 2001, Smiley was elected a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters. She received the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature in 2006.
Click here for our interview with Jane Smiley, and read about what inspired her to be writer.