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Jane Alison was born in Canberra, Australia, and spent two years in Australia as a small child, growing up mainly in the United States as a child of diplomatic parents. She attended public schools in Washington, D.C., and then earned a B.A. in classics from Princeton University in 1983. Before writing fiction, she worked as an administrator for the National Endowment for the Humanities, as a production artist for the Washington City Paper, as an editor for the Miami New Times, and as a proposal and speech writer for Tulane University. She also worked as a freelance editor and illustrator before attending Columbia University to study creative writing.
Her first novel, The Love-Artist, was published in 2001 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux and has been translated into seven languages. It was followed by The Marriage of the Sea, a New York Times Notable Book of 2003. Her latest novel, Natives and Exotics, appeared in 2005 and was one of that summer's recommended readings by Alan Cheuse of National Public Radio. Her short fiction and critical writing have recently appeared in Seed; Five Points; Postscript: Essays on Film and the Humanities; and The Germanic Review. She has also written several biographies for children and co-edited with Harold Bloom a critical series on women writers. She has taught writing and literature at Columbia University, Barnard College, Bryn Mawr College, and for writers groups in Geneva, Switzerland. Having lived in Karlsruhe, Germany for the past 10 years, she recently moved to Miami, Florida, in 2007, and began teaching in the MFA Creative Writing program at the University of Miami.
- Natives and Exotics, ISBN 0-15-603247-3 (Harvest Books; 1st edition, 10 April 2006).
- The Marriage of the Sea, ISBN 0-374-19941-8 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition, 16 April 2003).
- The Love-Artist: A Novel, ISBN 0-312-42006-4 (Picador, 6 April 2002).
- Nine Island, ISBN 978-1-936787-12-8 (Catapult, 22 August 2016).
- Jane Alison's Home Page
- Artfully as He Writes: New York Time's Critic Michiko Kakutani's review of The Love Artist
- Fluid Dynamics: New York Time's Critic and Author Margot Livesey's review of The Marriage of the Sea
- Transplants: New York Time's Critic and Author Sue Halpern's review of Natives and Exotics
- Jane Alison '83 discusses her first novel, The Love-Artist
- Jane Alison, a concentrator in classics and a member of the class of 1983, used her training in Latin and Greek to get a first job at the National Endowment for the Humanities
- Farrar, Straus & Giroux
- An intricate, elegant novel that ponders the connections among love, illusion and fidelity in the permutations of eight central characters behaving in two romantic and romanticized cities, New Orleans and Venice.
- Alan Cheuse: An Armful of Books for Summer
- National Public Radio Excerpt: 'Natives and Exotics'