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Jeffrey Eugenides (1960)

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Jeffrey Kent Eugenides is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and short story writer. Eugenides is most known for his first two novels, The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex . His novel The Marriage Plot was published in October, 2011.


 life and career
Eugenides was born in Detroit, Michigan, of Greek and Irish descent. He attended Grosse Pointe's private University Liggett School. He took his undergraduate degree at Brown University, graduating in 1983. He later earned an M.A. in Creative Writing from Stanford University.

In 1986 he received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nicholl Fellowship for his story "Here Comes Winston, Full of the Holy Spirit." His 1993 novel, The Virgin Suicides, gained mainstream interest with the 1999 film adaptation directed by Sofia Coppola. The novel was reissued in 2009.

Eugenides is reluctant to disclose details about his private life, except through Michigan-area book signings in which he details the influence of Detroit and his high-school experiences on his writings. He has said that he has "a perverse love" of his birthplace. "I think most of the major elements of American history are exemplified in Detroit, from the triumph of the automobile and the assembly line to the blight of racism, not to mention the music, Motown, the MC5, house, techno." He also says he has been haunted by the decline of Detroit.

He lives in Princeton, New Jersey, with his wife, Karen Yamauchi, and their daughter, Georgia. In the fall of 2007, Eugenides joined the faculty of Princeton University's Program in Creative Writing.

His 2002 novel, Middlesex, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the Ambassador Book Award. Part of it was set in Berlin, Germany, where Eugenides lived from 1999 to 2004, but it was chiefly concerned with the Greek-American immigrant experience in the United States, against the rise and fall of Detroit. It explores the experience of the intersexed in the USA. Eugenides wrote a lecture titled "On Obstacles and Omens: The Writing of 'Middlesex'", in which he discussed the numerous omens he experienced while working on Middlesex. In one omen, Eugenides based Cal's grandparents on his own grandparents, whom he recalled through an ancient, furled snapshot he had seen many years prior. As he finished a character sketch of Cal's grandparents one day, Eugenides received from the post office a parcel from his mother. It contained the photograph of his grandparents, now unfurled and framed, that Eugenides had been recalling. In another omen, Eugenides wrote about the adolescent Calliope's intimate relations with a girl she names the Obscure Object. The name was derived from the nickname of a captivating woman he had met in university. The same day he completed the novel, he attended a dinner hosted at the American Academy in Berlin, where he conversed with a faintly recognizable woman. After talking with her briefly, he suddenly recognized that she was the Obscure Object whom he had not seen for two decades.

Eugenides has also published short stories, primarily in The New Yorker. His 1996 story "Baster" became the basis for the 2010 romantic comedy The Switch.

His third novel, The Marriage Plot , has been called by Carlin Romano in the Chronicle of Higher Education "the most entertaining campus novel since Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons". The novel begins on graduation day at Brown University in 1982.

Eugenides announced at a 2011 Washington, DC reading for "The Marriage Plot" that his next project would be book of self-written short stories.

Eugenides is the editor of the collection of short stories titled My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead. The proceeds of the collection go to the writing center 826 Chicago, established to encourage young people's writing.

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