Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Jean Thompson  

Pen Name: None

Genre:

Audience: Adult;

Born: N/A


-- Website -- http://www.jeanthompsononline.com
-- Jean Thompson on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=jean+thompson


Illinois Connection

Thompson currently resides in Urbana, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Jean Thompson has taught creative writing since 1973 at several Illinois Universities and Colleges including the Reed College and Northwestern University. Currently, she is an Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign.Thompson's stories have been published in many magazines and journals, including ''The New Yorker'' and anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Who Do You Love: Stories
ISBN: 0743203011

Simon & Schuster. 2000

In this acclaimed collection, Jean Thompson limns the lives of ordinary people -- a lonely social worker, a down-and-out junkie, a divorced cop on the night shift -- to extraordinary effect. With wisdom and sympathy and spare eloquence, she writes of their inarticulate longings for communion and grace.Yet even the saddest situations are imbued with Thompsonšs characteristic humor and a wry glimmer of hope. With Who Do You Love, readers will discover a writer with rare insight into the resiliency of the human spirit and the complexities of love.

Wide Blue Yonder: A Novel
ISBN: 0743229584

Simon & Schuster. 2003

From National Book Award-finalist Jean Thompson comes a compelling, highly charged novel about a family ruled by the weather, the drastic changes that hit their atmosphere, and a midwestern town where chaos doesn't reign -- it pours.
Something big is headed for Springfield, Illinois, a place where weather of all kinds -- climatic, emotional, and even metaphysical -- tends to come in extremes. It is the summer of 1999, and through the long months of blazing heat and fearsome tempests, a quirky quartet of locals will try to ride out the stormy season, each in their own way.
Uncle Harvey believes he is the embodiment of the Weather Channel's "Local Forecast," even though all meteorological evidence points to the contrary. His niece, Josie, is fixed with a different predicament -- she's young and pretty, with nowhere to go except into deep trouble. Her mother, Elaine, lives under a façade of cheerful efficiency, desperately masking a far more urgent quest. And all of them are caught in the path of the loner Rolando -- a human cyclone from the West, fueled by a boundless rage and determined to make Springfield the focal point of his wrath.

City Boy: A Novel
ISBN: 0743242831

Simon & Schuster. 2005

Newlyweds Jack and Chloe are building a life together in a modest Chicago apartment. The city is theirs to enjoy as Jack struggles to pursue a writing career and Chloe works downtown, applying herself to the world of high finance. While Jack aspires to be the perfect husband, his own self-doubts and Chloe's office flirtations cast shadows. Jealousy and mis-behavior undermine their notions of themselves and of each other, and their lives take on uncomfortable parallels with the volatile, chaotic existence of their raffish, menacing neighbors. In the intense heat of one Chicago summer, Jack and Chloe's marriage roils into a queasy chemistry of vanity, lust, and greed. Thompson writes with piercing insight and emotional truth, setting off literary fireworks.

Throw Like A Girl: Stories
ISBN: B000R7G8HA

Simon & Schuster. 2007

A master of short fiction whose "best pieces are as good as it gets in contemporary cction" (Newsday) returns, as Jean Thompson follows her National Book Award finalist collection Who Do You Love with Throw Like a Girl.

Here are twelve new stories that take dead aim at the secrets of womanhood, arcing from youth to experience. Each one of Thompson's indelible characters -- lovers, wives, friends, and mothers -- speaks her piece -- wry, angry, hopeful -- about the world and women's places in it.

Do Not Deny Me: Stories
ISBN: 1416595635

Simon & Schuster. 2009

When Jean Thompson—“America’s Alice Munro” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)—is telling stories, “You cannot put the book down” (The Seattle Times), and her superlative new collection, Do Not Deny Me, is one to be savored, word by word.

• Award-winning storyteller gaining popularity: Jean Thompson’s short fiction has been honored by the National endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation

Who Do You Love: Stories was a National Book Award finalist for fiction and was promoted by David Sedaris during his own lecture tour

and Throw Like a Girl: Stories was a New York Times Notable Book and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year. The collection is also in its sixth printing, as Thompson’s longstanding critical acclaim crosses over into a popular following. Do Not Deny Me is perfectly positioned to gain an even wider audience.

• Do Not Deny Me: Here is a title that demands—and commands—attention in and of itself. Yet Thompson’s latest collection is no literary dare, delivering as it does twelve dazzling new stories that together offer, with wit, humor, and razor-sharp perception, a fictional primer on how Americans live day to day. In Thompson’s writing, The New York Times Book Review has noted, “some of the biggest satisfactions happen line by line, thanks to Thompson’s effortless ability to tip her prose into the universal.” Thompson succeeds as “one of our most astute diagnosticians of contemporary experience” (The Boston Globe).

The Year We Left Home: A Novel
ISBN: 1439175888

Simon & Schuster. 2011

From National Book Award finalist Jean Thompson comes a mesmerizing, decades-spanning saga of one ordinary American family—proud, flawed, hopeful— whose story simultaneously captures the turbulent history of the country at large.

Over the course of a thirty-year career, Jean Thompson has been celebrated by critics as “a writer of extraordinary intelligence and sensitivity” (O, The Oprah Magazine), “an American Alice Munro” (The Wall Street Journal), and “one of our most lucid and insightful writers” (San Francisco Chronicle). Her peers have been no less vocal, from Jennifer Egan (“bracing . . . boldly unconventional”) to David Sedaris (“if there are ‘Jean Thompson characters,’ they’re us, and never have we been as articulate and worthy of compassion”).

Now, in The Year We Left Home, Thompson brings together all of her talents to deliver the career-defining novel her admirers have been waiting for: a sweeping and emotionally powerful story of a single American family during the tumultuous final decades of the twentieth century. It begins in 1973 when the Erickson family of Grenada, Iowa, gathers for the wedding of their eldest daughter, Anita. Even as they celebrate, the fault lines in the family emerge. The bride wants nothing more than to raise a family in her hometown, while her brother Ryan watches restlessly from the sidelines, planning his escape. He is joined by their cousin Chip, an unpredictable, war-damaged loner who will show Ryan both the appeal and the perils of freedom. Torrie, the Ericksons’ youngest daughter, is another rebel intent on escape, but the choices she makes will bring about a tragedy that leaves the entire family changed forever.

Stretching from the early 1970s in the Iowa farmlands to suburban Chicago to the coast of contemporary Italy—and moving through the Vietnam War’s aftermath, the farm crisis, the numerous economic boomsand busts—The Year We Left Home follows the Erickson siblings as they confront prosperity and heartbreak, setbacks and triumphs, and seek their place in a country whose only constant seems to be breathtaking change. Ambitious, richly told, and fiercely American, this is a vivid and moving meditation on our continual pursuit of happiness and an incisive exploration of the national character.

The Humanity Project
ISBN: 0399158715

Blue Rider Press. 2013

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Year We Left Home, a dazzling new novel already being hailed as an “instantly addictive...tale of yearning, paradox, and hope.” (Booklist)

After surviving a shooting at her high school, Linnea is packed off to live with her estranged father, Art, who doesn’t quite understand how he has suddenly become responsible for raising a sullen adolescent girl. Art’s neighbor, Christie, is a nurse distracted by an eccentric patient, Mrs. Foster, who has given Christie the reins to her Humanity Project, a bizarre and well-endowed charity fund. Just as mysteriously, no one seems to know where Conner, the Fosters’ handyman, goes after work, but he has become the one person Linnea can confide in, perhaps because his own home life is a war zone: his father has suffered an injury and become addicted to painkillers. As these characters and many more hurtle toward their fates, the Humanity Project is born: Can you indeed pay someone to be good? At what price?
Thompson proves herself at the height of her powers in The Humanity Project, crafting emotionally suspenseful and thoroughly entertaining characters, in which we inevitably see ourselves. Set against the backdrop of current events and cultural calamity, it is at once a multifaceted ensemble drama and a deftly observant story of our twenty-first-century society.


Awards

''Who Do You Love: Stories'' - 1999 Finalist for the National Book Award ''City Boy'' and ''Wide Blue Yonder'' - New York Times Notable Book and Chicago Tribune Best Fiction SelectionRecipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation

Availability for Public Speaking

Speaking Engagement Availability: (Yes)

Contact Information:

Henry Dunow

Dunow & Carlson Literary Agency

27 West 20th Street, Suite 1003

New York, New York 10011

212-645-7606