Jenny Offill

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Jenny Offill
Jenny Offill, 2016
Jenny Offill, 2016
Genresnovelist, children's writer, editor

Jenny Offill (born 1968) is an American novelist and editor. Her novel Dept. of Speculation was named one of "The 10 Best Books of 2014" by The New York Times Book Review[1].

Early life[edit]

Jenny Offill is the only child of two private-school English teachers.[2] She spent her childhood years in various American states, including Massachusetts, California, Indiana, and North Carolina.[2] Jenny Offill attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[3]


Offill's first novel Last Things was published in 1999 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and in the UK by Bloomsbury. It was a New York Times Notable book and a finalist for the L.A Times First Book Award. Offill's second novel, Dept. of Speculation, was published in January 2014[4][5][6] and was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2014 by the New York Times Book Review.[1] Dept. of Speculation has been shortlisted for the Folio Prize in the UK, the Pen/Faulkner Award and the L.A. Times Fiction Award. In 2016 Offill was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship[7].

Her work has appeared in the Paris Review.[8] She is also the co-editor with Elissa Schappell of two anthologies of essays and the author of several children's books.

Offill has taught in the MFA programs at Brooklyn College, Columbia University and Queens University.[9] She currently resides as the Writer-in-Residence at Vassar College[10].



  • Last Things. Bloomsbury, 2000. ISBN 9780747551478
  • Dept. of Speculation. Knopf Doubleday. 2014. ISBN 978-0-385-35102-7.

Children's books[edit]

As co-editor[edit]

  • Jenny Offill; Elissa Schappell (2005). The Friend Who Got Away: Twenty Women's True Life Tales of Friendships that Blew Up, Burned Out or Faded Away. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-307-41937-8.
  • Jenny Offill; Elissa Schappell (2008). Money Changes Everything: Twenty-two Writers Tackle the Last Taboo with Tales of Sudden Windfalls, Staggering Debts, and Other Surprising Turns of Fortune. Broadway Books. ISBN 978-0-7679-2283-8.


  1. ^ a b "The 10 Best Books of 2014". Sunday Book Review. New York Times. December 4, 2014. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Haas, Lidija (February 28, 2015). "Jenny Offill: life after Dept. of Speculation – the underdog persona's not going to fly any more". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 19, 2015. Retrieved December 27, 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Roxane Gay (February 7, 2014). "Bridled Vows". The New York Times. ...Offill still makes it seem as if the wife’s version of the marriage is story enough and, perhaps, the only story that matters. The book calls to mind another proverb, this one from Madagascar: Marriage is not a tight knot, but a slip knot.
  5. ^ Elaine Blair (April 24, 2014). "The Smallest Possible Disaster". The New York Review of Books.
  6. ^ James Wood (March 31, 2014). "Mother Courage". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 18, 2014. “Dept. of Speculation” is all the more powerful because, with its scattered insights and apparently piecemeal form, it at first appears slight. Its depth and intensity make a stealthy purchase on the reader.
  7. ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Jenny Offill". Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  8. ^ "Magic and Dread". Paris Review (Winter 2013). Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  9. ^ "Café Américain | An Interview with Jenny Offill". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  10. ^ "Archive from Monday, February 11, 2019 - A Reading by Writer-in-Residence Jenny Offill, February 19, 2019 at 6pm in Taylor Hall 203.. (2/19) - News - Info - Vassar College". Retrieved April 4, 2019.

External links[edit]