Jodi Picoult biography, plus links to book reviews and book excerpts from books by Jodi Picoult.

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Jodi Picoult
Author photograph by Gasper Tringale.

Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult: jo-dee pee-coh

Jodi Picoult Biography

Jodi Picoult is the bestselling author of the following novels: Songs of the Humpback Whale (1992), Harvesting the Heart (1994), Picture Perfect (1995), Mercy (1996), The Pact (1998); Keeping Faith (1999), Plain Truth (2000), Salem Falls (2001), Perfect Match (2002), Second Glance (2003), My Sister's Keeper (2004), Vanishing Acts (2005), The Tenth Circle (2006), Nineteen Minutes (2007), Change of Heart (2008), Handle with Care (2009), House Rules (2010), Sing You Home (2011). She is also the author of Wonder Woman: Love and Murder (a collection of Wonder Woman #6-10). In 2003 she was awarded the New England Bookseller Award for Fiction.

She was born and raised —happily—on Long Island… something that she believed at first was a detriment to a girl who wanted to be a writer. "I had such an uneventful childhood that when I was taking writing classes at college, I called home and asked my mother if maybe there might have been a little incest or domestic abuse on the side that she'd forgotten about," Picoult recalls. "It took me a while to realize that I already did have something to write about – that solid core of family, and the knotty tangle of relationships, which I keep coming back to in my books."

Picoult studied creative writing with Mary Morris at Princeton, and had two short stories published in Seventeen magazine while still a student. "The first time the editor called me to say she wanted to pay me for something I'd written," Picoult says, "I immediately called my mom and said, 'I'm going to be a writer!' 'That's great,' she said. 'Who's going to support you?'" Realism - and a profound desire to be able to pay the rent - led Picoult to a series of different jobs following her graduation: as a technical writer for a Wall Street brokerage firm, as a copywriter at an ad agency, as an editor at a textbook publisher, and as an 8th grade English teacher - before entering Harvard to pursue a master's in education. She married Tim Van Leer, whom she had known at Princeton, and it was while she was pregnant with her first child that she wrote her first novel, Songs of the Humpback Whale.

Picoult says, "I found out it was going to be published just before my son was born, and I had this completely idealistic vision of him sitting at my feet, cooing, while I continued to write books. Needless to say, it didn't quite work out that way." Her struggle to balance motherhood and her own career formed, in part, the basis for her second novel, Harvesting the Heart. For a few years, she was either delivering a book or a baby. Now, she's happy to be prolific solely in her writing… and admits wholeheartedly that she moonlights as a writer, but she's really a mom. "It took me a while to find the balance," Picoult says, "but I'm a better mother because I have my writing… and I'm a better writer because of the experiences I've had as a parent that continually remind me how far we are willing to go for the people we love the most."

She and Tim and their three children live in Hanover, New Hampshire with a dog, a rabbit, two Jersey calves, and the occasional Holstein.

Link to Jodi's website

This biography was last updated on 07/11/2011.

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Interview

Jodi Picoult discusses many aspects of her latest novel, Nineteen Minutes and discusses how she finds the ideas to fuel her prolific writing.

In interview about Second Glance is located below the reading guide for that particular book.

What drew you to the subject of a school shooting for the premise of a novel?
As a mom of three, I've seen my own children struggle with fitting in and being bullied. It was listening to their experiences, and my own frustrations, that led me to consider the topic. I also kept thinking about how it's not just in high school where we have this public persona that might be different from what we truly feel inside...everyone wonders if they're good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, no matter how old they are. It's an archetypical moral dilemma - do you act like yourself, and risk becoming an outcast? Or do you pretend to be someone you're not, and hope no one finds out you're faking?

How did you go about conducting research for Nineteen Minutes? Given the heart wrenching and emotional topic of the book, in what ways was the research process more challenging than for your previous novels?
This book was VERY hard to research. I actually began through my longtime legal...

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Books by this Author

Books by Jodi Picoult at BookBrowse

Recommended in Detail at BookBrowse

Nineteen Minutes
Nineteen Minutes

by Jodi Picoult

Sterling is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens -- until the day its complacency is shattered by a shocking act of violence. In the aftermath, the town's residents must not only seek justice in order to begin healing but also come to terms with the role they played in the tragedy.
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Jodi Picoult but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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  • Laurie Halse Anderson

    Laurie Halse Anderson

    Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times-bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous national and state awards, as well as ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    My Sister's Keeper

    Try:
    Wintergirls
    by Laurie Halse Anderson

  • Elizabeth Berg

    Elizabeth Berg

    Elizabeth Berg was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on December 2, 1948.

    Before Berg became a writer, she was a registered nurse for ten years, and that was her "school" for writing—taking care of patients taught her a lot ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Second Glance

    Try:
    Ordinary Life
    by Elizabeth Berg

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