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Jane Smiley at the 2009 Texas Book Festival.
Jane Smiley (born September 26, 1949) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Americanmarker novelist.


Born in Los Angeles, Californiamarker, Smiley grew up in Webster Groves, Missourimarker, a suburb of St. Louismarker, and graduated from John Burroughs Schoolmarker. She obtained an A.B. at Vassar Collegemarker, then earned an M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowamarker. While working towards her doctorate, she also spent a year studying in Icelandmarker as a Fulbright Scholar.

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 best-selling A Thousand Acres, a story based on William Shakespeare's King Lear, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992. It was adapted into a film of the same title in 1997. In 1995 she wrote her sole television script, produced for an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. Her novella The Age of Grief was made into the 2002 film The Secret Lives of Dentists. Her essay "Feminism Meets the Free Market" was included in the 2006 anthology Mommy Wars by Washington Post writer Leslie Morgan Steiner.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel (2005), is a non-fiction meditation on the history and the nature of the novel, somewhat in the tradition of E. M. Forster's seminal Aspects of the Novel, that roams from eleventh century Japan's Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji to twenty-first century Americans' chick lit.

From 1981 to 1996, she taught undergrad and graduate creative writing workshops at Iowa State Universitymarker. She continued teaching at ISU even after moving her primary residence to California.

In 2001, Smiley was elected a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters. She participates in the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in association with UCLAmarker. Smiley chaired the judges' panel for the prestigious Man Booker International Prize in 2009.



Story collections
  • The Age of Grief (1987)

  • Charles Dickens (2003)
  • A Year at the Races: Reflections on Horses, Humans, Love, Money, and Luck (2004)
  • Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel (2005)

  • "Say It Ain't So, Huck: Second Thoughts on Mark Twain's 'Masterpiece'" Harper's Magazine 292.1748 (Jan. 1996): 61-67. (1995)
  • "And Moo to You Too" Civilization 2.6 (1995): 75.

  • "Iowa Was Never Like This," from The Other Woman: Twenty-one Wives, Lovers, and Others Talk Openly About Sex, Deception, Love, and Betrayal



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