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Jeffrey Eugenides & Mona Simpson
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jeffrey Eugenides
Photo by Karen Yamauchi

Jeffrey Eugenides was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1960. He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University, and received an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Stanford University in 1986. His first novel, The Virgin Suicides, was published to acclaim in 1993. It has been translated into 34 languages and made into a feature film. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, Best American Short Stories, The Gettysburg Review, and Granta’s “Best of Young American Novelists.”

Eugenides is the recipient of many awards, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and the Henry D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In the past few years he has been a Fellow of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm of the DAAD and of the American Academy in Berlin. After several years in Berlin and Chicago, Eugenides now lives in Princeton, New Jersey with his wife and daughter, where he is Professor of Creative Writing in the Peter B. Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton.

In 2003, Jeffrey Eugenides received The Pulitzer Prize, the WELT-Literaturpreis of Germany, and the Great Lakes Book Award for his novel MIDDLESEX (FSG, 2002; Picador, 2003). MIDDLESEX was also shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award, France’s Prix Medici, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Mona Simpson
Photo by Gasper Tringale

Mona Simpson was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in 1957; when she was ten, her parents separated and she moved with her mother to California. Although this detail of her life story is similar to that which makes up the core situation of Anywhere But Here, Simpson tends to be reticent about the extent to which her fiction borrows from the details of her life. She has said, "What I'd finally say about truth and autobiography is that all writers are probably trying to get at some core truth of life, at some configuration that is enduring and truthful. I just haven't found the truth to be my vehicle."5

After getting her B.A. in creative writing at Berkeley, she did an M.F.A. at Columbia, where she began work on Anywhere But Here. Upon finishing her M.F.A. she worked for several years as an editor at the Paris Review. Since the enormous success of Anywhere But Here, Simpson has written The Lost Father and A Regular Guy, which have contributed further to her impressive critical reputation. She was named one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists and has won several prestigious awards, including the Whiting Writer's Award, a Guggenheim grant, the Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University, and a grant from the Lila WallaceÐReader's Digest Foundation. Since 1988 she has taught at Bard College, where she is the Sadie Samuelson Levy Professor of Languages and Literature. She lives with her husband and son in New York City and in Santa Monica, California. 

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