Hillary Jordan received her BA in English and Political Science from Wellesley College and spent fifteen years working as an advertising copywriter before starting to write fiction. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University.
Her first novel, Mudbound, was published in 2008 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, HarperCollins Canada and Random House UK. It won the 2006 Bellwether Prize, founded by Barbara Kingsolver and awarded biennially to an unpublished debut novel that addresses issues of social justice, and a 2009 Alex Award from the American Library Association. Mudbound was also the 2008 NAIBA (New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Assoc.) Fiction Book of the Year and was longlisted for the 2009 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Paste Magazine named it one of the Top Ten Debut Novels of the Decade. It has been translated into French, Italian and Serbian. Swedish, Norwegian and Turkish editions are forthcoming in 2012.
Her second novel, When She Woke, was published in October 2011 by Algonquin and HarperCollins Canada and in April 2012 by HarperCollins UK. It is currently being translated into French, German, Spanish, Turkish and Chinese.
Hillary grew up in Dallas, TX and Muskogee, OK. She lives in Brooklyn.
Read Hillary's blog at BookBrowse.
This biography was last updated on 09/18/2012.
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This page includes two interviews with Hillary Jordan; in the video below, she discusses the connection between her second novel, When She Woke and Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, and in the written piece beneath, she talks about her novel Mudbound, winner of the prestigious Bellwether Prize.
See also the reading guide page for When She Woke where you'll find another Q&A.
An interview with Hillary Jordan on her latest novel, When She Woke
Hillary Jordan discusses her debut novel, Mudbound
What inspired you to write Mudbound?
I grew up hearing stories about my grandparents' farm in Lake Village, Arkansas. It was a primitive place, an unpainted shotgun shack with no electricity, no running water and no telephone. They named it "Mudbound" because whenever it rained, the roads would flood and they'd be stranded for days.
Though they'd only lived there for a year, my mother, aunt and grandmother spoke of Mudbound often, laughing and shaking their heads by turns, depending on whether the story in question was funny or horrifying. Often they were both, as Southern stories tend to be. I loved listening to them, even the ones I'd heard dozens of times before. They were a peephole...
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