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Jeanine Cummins biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Jeanine Cummins
photo: Joe Kennedy

Jeanine Cummins

Jeanine Cummins Biography

Jeanine Cummins was born in Spain. She studied creative writing at Towson University before living in Belfast for several years. In 1997, she moved to New York City where she spent 10 years working in the publishing industry.

Cummins is the author of the novels The Outside Boy and The Crooked Branch and the bestselling memoir A Rip in Heaven. She lives in New York with her husband and two children.



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Interview

Jeanine Cummins, author of American Dirt, talks about tackling injustice through fiction.

Did you always want to be a writer?

I always dreamed of being a writer, but I didn't grow up with any sense that it was possible to make a living that way. My mom was a nurse and my dad was in the Navy. My grandfather was a professional musician, but even that seemed gritty, like a real job. He carried a tuba and bass around, which felt like tools to me. So I always thought I'd end up doing something practical. I thought I'd be a park ranger or a carpenter who submitted poems to local newspaper contests. But then my cousin Julie was murdered when I was 16. She was supposed to be the writer. So I think losing her, losing her talent, and understanding that the life she was supposed to live was no longer available to her, made me super determined to live out the dream we both shared, as if I had to do it now, for both of us. I like the idea that some of her flame may have landed on me when she departed.

In several interviews for your novel The Crooked Branch, you mention starting your book on immigration, but very differently. How did it evolve to its present state?

I'd like to say that it was meticulously planned and that its evolution was organic and beautiful, but the truth is that I wrote two failed drafts of this novel ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Jeanine Cummins at BookBrowse
American Dirt jacket
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Jeanine Cummins 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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  • Helon Habila

    Helon Habila

    Helon Habila is the author of the novels, Waiting for an Angel, Measuring Time, Oil on Water, and Travelers and a nonfiction book, The Chibok Girls. His writing has won numerous awards including the Caine Prize, the ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    American Dirt

    Try:
    Travelers
    by Helon Habila

  • Valeria Luiselli

    Valeria Luiselli

    Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa and India. An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is the author of the essay collection Sidewalks; the novels Faces in the ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    American Dirt

    Try:
    Lost Children Archive
    by Valeria Luiselli

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