Jeannette Walls

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Jeannette Walls
Walls in 2009
Walls in 2009
Born (1960-04-21) April 21, 1960 (age 62)
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
OccupationAuthor, columnist
EducationBarnard College
Notable worksThe Glass Castle, Half Broke Horses
Eric Goldberg
(m. 1988; div. 1996)

John J. Taylor
(m. 2002)

Jeannette Walls (born April 21, 1960) is an American author and journalist widely known as former gossip columnist for and author of The Glass Castle, a memoir of the nomadic family life of her childhood. Published in 2005, it had been on the New York Times Best Seller list for 421 weeks as of June 3, 2018.[1] She is a 2006 recipient of the Alex Awards and Christopher Award.

Early life and education[edit]

Walls was born on April 21, 1960, in Phoenix, Arizona, to Rex Walls and Rose Mary Walls. Walls has two sisters, Lori and Maureen, and one brother, Brian.[2] Walls' family life was rootless, with the family shuttling from Phoenix to California (including a brief stay in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco), to Battle Mountain, Nevada, and to Welch, West Virginia, with periods of homelessness. When they finally landed in Rex's Appalachian hometown of Welch the family lived in a three-room house without plumbing or heat.[3]

Walls moved to New York at age 17 to join her sister Lori (at that point a waitress and soon working as an artist for Archie Comics).[3] With the aid of grants, loans, scholarships and a year spent answering phones at a Wall Street law firm she was thereafter able to complete a bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts at Barnard College.


Walls graduated from Barnard College in 1984 with honors.[4]


Early in her career Walls interned at a Brooklyn newspaper called The Phoenix and eventually became a full-time reporter there. From 1987 to 1993 she wrote the "Intelligencer" column for New York magazine.[5] She then wrote a gossip column for Esquire, from 1993 to 1998,[5] then contributed regularly to the gossip column "Scoop" at from 1998 until her departure to write full-time in 2007.[6][7] Walls has contributed to USA Today,[5] and has appeared on The Today Show, CNN, Primetime, and The Colbert Report.

Her 2000 book, Dish: The Inside Story on the World of Gossip, was a humorous history of the role gossip has played in U.S. media, politics and life.[8]

In 2005, Walls published the best-selling memoir The Glass Castle,[9] which details the joys and struggles of her childhood. It offers a look into her life and that of her dysfunctional family. The Glass Castle was well received by critics and the public.[10] It has sold over 4 million copies and has been translated into 31 languages.[11] It received the Christopher Award, the American Library Association's Alex Award (2006), and the Books for Better Living Award.[12] Paramount bought the film rights to the book,[13] and in March 2013 announced that actress Jennifer Lawrence would play Walls in the film adaptation. On October 9, 2015, it was reported that Lawrence withdrew from the film and she would be replaced by actress Brie Larson.

In 2009, Walls published her first novel, Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel, based on the life of her grandmother Lily Casey Smith. It was named one of the ten best books of 2009 by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.[14]

Walls'novel, The Silver Star, was published in 2013. Her novel, Hang the Moon: A Novel, is scheduled for publication in March, 2023.

Works cited[edit]

  • Dish: The Inside Story on the World of Gossip. New York: Avon Books, Inc. March 2000. ISBN 0-380-97821-0.
  • The Glass Castle. New York: Scribner. March 2005. ISBN 0-7432-4753-1.
  • Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel. New York: Scribner. October 2009. ISBN 978-1-4165-8628-9.
  • The Silver Star. Scribner, 2013.

Personal life[edit]

Walls married Eric Goldberg in 1988; they divorced in 1996.[15] She married fellow New York writer John J. Taylor in 2002,[15] and the couple now lives outside Culpeper, Virginia, on a 205-acre farm.[16]

In popular culture[edit]

Her memoir has been adapted into a film with the same name The Glass Castle, where actress Brie Larson portrayed Walls.


  1. ^ "Best Sellers June 3, 2018". The New York Times Best Seller list. 2018-05-24. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  2. ^ Henry, Diana. "Sister Inspires Space Strip," The Daily Register (Shrewsbury, New Jersey) (May 10, 1982), p. 15.
  3. ^ a b Walls, Jeanette (March 2005). The Glass Castle. Scrbiner. ISBN 0-7432-4753-1.
  4. ^ "Jeannette Walls Biography - life, family, children, parents, story, history, school, mother, book, old, born - Newsmakers Cumulation".
  5. ^ a b c "Jeannette Walls".
  6. ^ MSNBC (2007-07-26). "Jeannette Walls leaving". Retrieved 2007-08-12.
  7. ^ "Jeannette Walls, author, The Glass Castle, gossip columnist,". Gothamist. 2005-05-27. Archived from the original on 2007-03-29. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
  8. ^ "Nonfiction Review: Dish:: The Inside Story on the World of Gossip by Jeannette Walls". 2000-02-28. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
  9. ^ Walls, Jeannette (2006). The Glass Castle. New York: Scribner. ISBN 0-7432-4754-X.
  10. ^ "The Glass Castle Background". GradeSaver. 2011-03-31. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
  11. ^ University, Neumann. "Author of The Glass Castle to Speak on "Facing Your Fears"". Retrieved 2021-12-03.
  12. ^ "Porter-Gaud hosts noted author Walls". Post and Courier, FYI, September 20, 2007.
  13. ^ "Pitt's Plan B inks deal with Paramount". M & C News, Jun 23, 2005. Archived from the original on 2008-12-05.
  14. ^ "The 10 Best Books of 2009 – The New York Times". Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  15. ^ a b Windolf, Jim (2005-04-01). "A Secret of Her Own". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  16. ^ "Transcending the Worst of Times". Northern Virginia Magazine. 2015-10-16. Retrieved 2021-11-05.

External links[edit]