Janet Fitch biography

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Janet Fitch

Janet Fitch

Janet Fitch Biography

Janet Fitch was born in Los Angeles, a third-generation native, and grew up in a family of voracious readers. As an undergraduate at Reed College, Fitch had decided to become an historian, attracted to its powerful narratives, the scope of events, the colossal personalities, and the potency and breadth of its themes. But when she won a student exchange to Keele University in England, where her passion for Russian history led her, she awoke in the middle of the night on her twenty-first birthday with the revelation she wanted to write fiction. "I wanted to Live, not spend my life in a library. Of course, my conception of being a writer was to wear a cape and have Adventures."

Fitch has published short stories in literary journals such as A Room of One's Own, briefly attended film school in the director's program at the University of Southern California, worked at various times as a typesetter, a proofreader, a graphic artist, a freelance journalist, the managing editor of American Film magazine, and the editor of The Mancos Times Tribune, a weekly newspaper in the mountains of Southwestern Colorado. Currently, she teaches fiction writing at the University of Southern California's Masters of Professional Writing program. She lives in Los Angeles.

Janet Fitch's website

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Interview

Janet Fitch talks about her book White Oleander.

"White Oleander," the story which grew into her novel, was named as a distinguished story in Best American Short Stories 1994.

Interestingly enough, the story was rejected from The Ontario Review with a note from Joyce Carol Oates, stating that while she enjoyed it, it seemed more like the first chapter of a novel than a short story. It had not occurred to Fitch to extend the story, but she decided to take a chance on this advice and wrote her novel.

Her writing process is simple. "I write all the time, whether I feel like it or not," she says. "I never get inspired unless I'm already writing. I write every day, including weekends. For writers there are no weekends. It's just that your family is around, looking mournful, wondering when you're going to pay attention to them."

Her journalistic experience proved a vaccination against writer's block. "When I had the newspaper, I had to come up with 12 or 15 stories a week regardless of whether there was anything to write about. Someone would call me up and say, "My kid just caught a big fish, come over and take a picture of it." So you'd go take a picture of the fish and then interview the kid...

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Books by this Author

Books by Janet Fitch at BookBrowse
Paint It Black jacket White Oleander jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Janet Fitch 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.
How we choose readalikes

  • Elizabeth Berg

    Elizabeth Berg

    Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including Open House (an Oprah's Book Club selection), Talk Before Sleep, and The Year of Pleasures, as well as the short story collection The Day I Ate Whatever I... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    White Oleander

    Try:
    Open House
    by Elizabeth Berg

  • Barbara Delinsky

    Barbara Delinsky

    In her own words: "I was born and raised in suburban Boston. My mother's death, when I was eight, was the defining event of a childhood that was otherwise ordinary. I took piano lessons and flute lessons. I took ballroom... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    White Oleander

    Try:
    Lake News
    by Barbara Delinsky

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