Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Jeffery Renard Allen  

Pen Name: 

Genre: Fiction Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1962 in Chicago, Illinois

-- Wikipedia --
-- WorldCat: --

Illinois Connection

Allen was born in Chicago and raised on the South Side of the city in a neighborhood that provided the setting of his first novel Rails Under My Back and the stories in his collection Holding Pattern. He attended public schools and earned his university degrees at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

effery Renard Allen is the author of five books including the novels SONG OF THE SHANK and RAILS UNDER MY BACK, which won the Chicago Tribunes Heartland Prize for Fiction; the short story collection HOLDING PATTERN, which received The Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence; and two collections of poetry. Allen is the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award, a grant in Innovative Literature from the Creative Capital Foundation, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.


Holding Pattern

Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

Starred Review, Booklist

Rails Under My Back

Heartland Prize for Fiction, Chicago Tribune

Song of the Shank

New York Times Notable Book of the Year,2014

Finalist, PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, 2015

Starred Review, Booklist

Other Awards

Whiting Award Creative Capital Foundation

Guggenheim Fellowship

Twenty First Century Award,Chicago Public Library

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability: No.

Selected Titles At Your Library

Harbors and Spirits
ISBN: 155921208X. OCLC Number: 37157498

Asphodel,. .

Holding Pattern: Stories
ISBN: 1555975097. OCLC Number: 213300753

Graywolf Press,. .

Allen melds gritty urban life and magical realism in his first collection (after the novel Rails Under My Back). At times, the combination works-in the title story, full of contemporary slang, a character grows wings, but instead of ethereal white feathers, they are dried up and brown and crusty, like some fried chicken wings.

Rails Under My Back
ISBN: 0374246262. OCLC Number: 42022221

Farrar, Straus, and Giroux,. .

In a story that transcends time, one image holding the family together is that of the railroad--the railroad that carries the Jones men off to war and back again, that carries their parents from the South to the North, from living quarters to workplace, from one form of bondage or freedom to another.--Jacket.

Song of the Shank
ISBN: 1555976808. OCLC Number: 857967485

Graywolf Press. .

In 1866 as Tom and his guardian, Eliza Bethune, struggle to adjust to their fashionable apartment in the city in the aftermath of riots that had driven them away a few years before. But soon a stranger arrives from the mysterious island of Edgemere, inhabited solely by African settlers and black refugees from the war and riots, who intends to reunite Tom with his now-liberated mother.--Page 4 of cover.

Stellar Places
ISBN: 155921385X. OCLC Number: 70630438

Asphodel Press :. .