Jane Smiley: Biography

Jane Smiley

26 sep 1949

Jane Smiley is an American author, born in Los Angeles, California in 1949. Her family moved to Webster Groves, Missouri, when she was a young girl, and she spent most of her childhood in this suburb of St. Louis. Her father left the family when she was very young and she never saw him again. After graduating from High School, she studied English Literature at Vassar College. She went on to earn an MA and later a PhD from the University of Iowa.

Smiley’s first novel, Barn Blind, was published in 1980. Since then she has had a further 21 novels published and has gone on to receive international acclaim for many of them. Her 1991 novel A Thousand Acres, based on the story of King Lear and his daughters, became an international bestseller and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. There was also a film adaption of the book which was released in 1997.

In addition to her prize-winning fiction for adults, Smiley has also written and published 5 novels for young adults.

Smiley has a keen interest in equestrian sports, and her success as an author has enable her to purchase 12 racehorses. She is still writing ferociously, and seems to be writing even more than ever. She has published 4 books in the last two years, and has another novel due for publication in 2016. She continues to be outspoken in defending forgotten or underrated literary works and in championing freedom and choice in matters such as divorce.