Jennifer Haigh biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Jennifer Haigh
Photo: Joanna Eldredge Morrissey

Jennifer Haigh

How to pronounce Jennifer Haigh: The h on the end is silent, so pronounced haig

Jennifer Haigh Biography

Jennifer Haigh is the author of the short-story collection News from Heaven and six bestselling and critically acclaimed novels, including Mrs. Kimble, Faith and Heat and Light, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and NPR. Her books have won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Massachusetts Book Award and the PEN New England Award in Fiction, and have been translated widely. She lives in New England.

Jennifer Haigh's website

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Interview

Jennifer Haigh talks about how she was inspired to write Baker Towers (set in a Pennsylvania coal mining tower after WWII) because of her own family history and the stories told to her by her parents and relatives.

Was Baker Towers inspired by your own family history?
Yes and no. The characters themselves are inventions; they don't resemble anybody in my family. But the details about the town itself, what life was like in the postwar years, definitely came from my parents and other relatives. Baker Towers ends in the Vietnam era, right around the time I was born, so I couldn't rely on my own memories of the period I was writing about. By the time I came along, the coal mines were already in decline. The era of the company town was past, and the region was on its way to become something else. But I grew up hearing about how things used to be, and when I set out to write this book I had a wonderful time interviewing family members about what life was like when coal was king.


How did the characters evolve from the time you began imagining them?
The characters really did develop a generation at a time. When I began writing, Rose and Stanley were clearest to me. I had a vivid mental picture of what they looked like -- Rose very dark, southern Italian; Stanley a Slavic type, big and blond -- and I was fascinated by how those two sets of physical traits would combine and manifest in a large family. As far as developing the...

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Books by this Author

Books by Jennifer Haigh at BookBrowse
Mercy Street jacket Heat and Light jacket News from Heaven jacket Faith jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Jennifer Haigh 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

  • Brit Bennett

    Brit Bennett

    Born and raised in Southern California, Brit Bennett graduated from Stanford University and later earned her MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan, where she won a Hopwood Award in Graduate Short Fiction as well as the... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Mercy Street

    Try:
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett

  • Ann Cummins

    Ann Cummins

    A graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Arizona writing programs, Ann Cummins is the author of Red Ant House, a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and Best Book of the Year. She has had her stories ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Baker Towers

    Try:
    Yellowcake
    by Ann Cummins

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