Joshua Ferris biography

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Joshua Ferris
Photo: Kelly Campbell

Joshua Ferris

Joshua Ferris Biography

Joshua Ferris is the bestselling author of three novels, Then We Came to the End, The Unnamed and To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. He was a finalist for the National Book Award, winner of the Barnes and Noble Discover Award and the PEN/Hemingway Award, and was named one of The New Yorker's "20 Under 40"writers in 2010. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, and Best American Short Stories. He lives in New York.

Joshua Ferris's website

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Interview

Joshua Ferris talks about his first novel, Then We Came to the End, set in a Chicago ad agency during the business downturn at the end of the 1990s.

Tell us a little about your writing background up to this point

I lived in Key West as a kid, and there I started writing imitation Alfred Hitchcock stories — not "The Birds" but, given Key West's coastal view, "The Crabs." Many good people, boaters and sunbathers, were eaten alive as Hitchcock turned in his grave. Then in college, at the University of Iowa, I started writing stories again — again imitations but with sights set a little higher, or at least more literary: Nabokov, Barthelme. Shortly after college I got a job in advertising where I wrote ad copy for national brands, which taught me a good many things. And after my time in advertising I enrolled in the MFA program at the University of California, Irvine, where I started Then We Came to the End.


So you had experience working in an ad agency. Is that how you arrived at the setting of your novel?

Ad agencies can be a lot of fun. Creative departments are full of toys and games and wacky surprises, and throwing a Nerf football down the hallway to release tension isn't immediate cause for walking papers. I wanted my characters to have the freedom to do certain things that wouldn't fly, say, in a law firm. ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Joshua Ferris at BookBrowse
The Dinner Party jacket To Rise Again at a Decent Hour jacket The Unnamed jacket Then We Came to the End jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Joshua Ferris 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

  • Kate Christensen

    Kate Christensen

    Kate Christensen is the author of six novels, including In the Drink, Jeremy Thrane, The Epicure's Lament, and Trouble. The Great Man won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award. She has written reviews and essays for numerous ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Unnamed

    Try:
    The Astral
    by Kate Christensen

  • Jeffrey Eugenides

    Jeffrey Eugenides

    Jeffrey Eugenides was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1960. He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University, and received an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Stanford University in 1986. His first ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Unnamed

    Try:
    The Marriage Plot
    by Jeffrey Eugenides

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