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Jennifer Egan

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Jennifer Egan

Jennifer Egan
Egan at Occupy Wall Street, November 2011
Born (1962-09-07) September 7, 1962
Chicago, Illinois
Occupation novelist
Citizenship United States
Genre Fiction, Novel, Short story
Notable works Look at Me (novel, 2001), A Visit from the Goon Squad (novel, 2010)
Notable awards National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, National Book Critics Circle Award

Jennifer Egan (born September 7, 1962) is an American novelist and short story writer who lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Egan's novel A Visit from the Goon Squad won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.

Background and career

Egan was born in Chicago, but grew up in San Francisco. After graduating from Lowell High School, she majored in English literature at the University of Pennsylvania. While an undergraduate, Egan dated Steve Jobs, who installed a Macintosh computer in her bedroom.[1] After graduating, Egan spent two years at St John's College, Cambridge supported by a Thouron Award.[2][3] She has published short fiction in The New Yorker, Harper's, Zoetrope: All-Story, and Ploughshares,[4] among other periodicals, and her journalism appears frequently in The New York Times Magazine. She has published one short story collection and four novels, among which Look at Me was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2001.

Egan has been hesitant to classify A Visit from the Goon Squad as either a novel or a short story collection, saying, "I wanted to avoid centrality. I wanted polyphony. I wanted a lateral feeling, not a forward feeling. My ground rules were: every piece has to be very different, from a different point of view. I actually tried to break that rule later; if you make a rule then you also should break it!" The book features genre-bending content such as a chapter entirely formatted as a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. Of her inspiration and approach to the work, she said, "I don’t experience time as linear. I experience it in layers that seem to coexist...One thing that facilitates that kind of time travel is music, which is why I think music ended up being such an important part of the book. Also, I was reading Proust. He tries, very successfully in some ways, to capture the sense of time passing, the quality of consciousness, and the ways to get around linearity, which is the weird scourge of writing prose." [5]


Egan at the 2010 Brooklyn Book Festival
Egan received a Thouron Award in 1986.[3] She was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996,[6] and was a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library in 2004–2005.[7] In 2011 she was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.[8]

Egan won the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award (Fiction)[9] and Pulitzer Prize for A Visit from the Goon Squad.[10]

Partial bibliography


Short fiction


Reviewing The Keep, The New York Times said: "Jennifer Egan is a refreshingly unclassifiable novelist; she deploys most of the arsenal developed by metafiction writers of the 1960s and refined by more recent authors like William T. Vollmann and David Foster Wallace—but she can’t exactly be counted as one of them. The opening of her novel, The Keep, lays out a whole Escherian architecture, replete with metafictional trapdoors, pitfalls, infinitely receding reflections and trompe l’œil effects, but what’s more immediately striking about this book is its unusually vivid and convincing realism."[11]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^ Julavits, Heidi. "Jennifer Egan". BOMB Magazine. Summer 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Bosman, Julie, Deborah Eisenberg Wins PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, New York Times, March 15, 2011
  9. ^ Bosman, Julie, Jennifer Egan and Isabel Wilkerson Win National Book Critics Circle Awards, New York Times, March 11, 2011
  10. ^ Discussion of "A Visit from the Goon Squad" in relation to her work as a whole: Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  11. ^

Further reading

  • Kelly, Adam. "Beginning with Postmodernism." Twentieth-Century Literature 57.3 (Fall 2011): 391-422. [On Look at Me]
  • Mishra, Pankaj. "Modernity's Undoing." London Review of Books 33.7 (31 March 2011): 27-30. [On A Visit from the Goon Squad]

External links

  • Jennifer Egan's website
  • Jennifer Egan at the Internet Movie Database
  • The KeepReviews & Scores for at
  • Book Review at
  • "The Ghost in the Renovation" at This Old House website
  • Reading report from Happy Endings with Peter Behrens and David Rakoff, published at (Nov 2006)
  • interview with Jennifer Egan by Heidi JulavitsBOMB Magazine2010
  • Paul Vidich (Spring 2010). "Jennifer Egan, An Interview". Narrative Magazine.
  • Jennifer Egan: Chronological Bibliography of First Editions
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