Jan Kerouac

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Jan Kerouac
Born Janet Michelle Kerouac
(1952-02-16)February 16, 1952
Albany, New York, U.S.
Died June 5, 1996(1996-06-05) (aged 44)
Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
Resting place Saint Louis De Gonzague Cemetery
Occupation Writer
Nationality American

Janet Michelle "Jan" Kerouac (February 16, 1952 – June 5, 1996) was an American writer and the only child of beat generation author Jack Kerouac and Joan Haverty Kerouac.

Early life and career[edit]

Kerouac was born in Albany, New York. Her mother left her father while pregnant, and Jack refused to acknowledge the baby as his daughter. A blood test when Jan was nine years old proved his paternity and he was ordered to pay $52 a week for her upbringing. Jan met her father only twice. Like both her parents, she made frequent use of drugs and was no stranger to trouble. After a teenage stint in a mental hospital, Jan delved deeper into the 1960s underworld of drugs, before leaving for Mexico at the age of 15. For the next few decades, she traveled across the country with a reckless abandon that echoed that of her father and Neal Cassady.

Kerouac published two semi-autobiographical novels, Baby Driver in 1981, and Trainsong in 1988. She was working on a third novel, Parrot Fever, at the time of her death.

During this time, Kerouac was also involved in legal battles with Stella Sampas Kerouac, Jack's last wife, and after Stella's death, with Stella's blood relatives, over his estate, including the location of his grave and ownership of his papers. On July 24, 2009, a judge in Pinellas County, Florida ruled that the will of his mother Gabrielle Kerouac (died 1973), which gave all rights to Jack Kerouac's work to the Sampas family, was a forgery. The legal action against this will was originally brought by Jan Kerouac and a nephew of Jack's.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Married and divorced twice, Kerouac lived a troubled life marked by periods of self-destruction. In 1968, she gave birth to a stillborn child and had no other children.


On June 5, 1996, Kerouac died in Albuquerque, New Mexico a day after her spleen was removed. She had suffered kidney failure five years earlier and was on dialysis.[2] She was survived by twin half-sisters, Katharine and Sharon, and one half-brother, David Bowers.

Gerald Nicosia, who at one time was Jan Kerouac's personal literary representative, has edited and published a book of tributes to her, entitled Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory.


  • Baby Driver (1981, novel)
  • Trainsong (1988, novel)
  • Parrot Fever (1992–93, unpublished novel)


External links[edit]