Jane Smiley, UI Graduate 75MA, 76MFA, 78Ph (Former Writers' Workshop Faculty)

Prize Work: A Thousand Acres; Pulitzer Prize: 1992 Fiction

Jane Smiley (born 1949) is an American writer.

Jane SmileyAuthor Biography - Born in Los Angeles, California, Jane moved to the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri, as an infant, and lived there through grammar school and high school (The John Burroughs School). After getting her BA at Vassar College in 1971, she traveled in Europe for a year, working on an archeological dig and sight-seeing, then returned to Iowa to earn an M.F.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. After spending a year in Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar, she went to work in 1981 at Iowa State University, in Ames, where she taught until 1996.

Smiley published her first novel, Barn Blind, in 1980, and won a 1985 O. Henry Award for her short story "Lily", which was published in The Atlantic Monthly. Her best-selling A Thousand Acres, a story based on William Shakespeare's King Lear, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992. It was adapted into a film of the same title in 1997. In 1995 she wrote her sole television script produced, for an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. Her novella The Age of Grief was made into the 2002 film The Secret Lives of Dentists. In addition to her many novels, Smiley is also the author of many essays for many magazines such as Vogue, The New Yorkes, Allure, Victoria, and many others. Her works cover a wide array of topics, including politics, farming, horse training, impulse buying, Barbie, and marriage.

She lives in California with her three children, three dogs, and her sixteen (and counting) horses.

Learn More About Smiley's Prize Winning Work

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

Book Description
A successful Iowa farmer decides to divide his farm between his three daughters. When the youngest objects, she is cut out of his will. This sets off a chain of events that brings dark truths to light and explodes long-suppressed emotions. An ambitious reimagining of Shakespeare’s King Lear cast upon a typical American community in the late twentieth century, A Thousand Acres takes on themes of truth, justice, love, and pride, and reveals the beautiful yet treacherous topography of humanity.

Browse The Book
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
(Taken from Amazon.com)

Editorial Reviews
View editorial reviews from New York Times Book Review, Entertainment Weekly, Amazon.com and more. Read the reviews >>

An Interview with Jane Smiley

In a 1989 interview from wiredforbooks.org, Jane Smiley talks about writing a book for ten years, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and teaching writing.

(Real Audio Format)

Bibliography - Jane Smiley

* Ban Blind (1980)
* At Paradise Gate (1981)
* Duplicate Keys (1984)
* The Age of Grief (1987)
* The Greenlanders (1988)
* Ordinary Love & Good Will (1989)
* A Thousand Acres (1991)
* Moo (1995)
* The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton (1998)
* Horse Heaven (2000)
* Good Faith (2003)
* Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel (2005)
* Ten Days in the Hills (2007)

External links