John Jeremiah Sullivan

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John Jeremiah Sullivan (born 1974) is an American writer, musician, teacher, and editor. He is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, a contributing editor of Harper's Magazine, and the southern editor of The Paris Review. In 2014, he edited The Best American Essays, a collection in which his work has been featured in previous years. He has also served on the faculty of Columbia University, Sewanee: The University of the South, and other institutions.

John Jeremiah Sullivan, in Havana, Cuba. Photo by his daughter Maria.


Sullivan was born in Louisville, Kentucky to Mike Sullivan, a sportswriter. His mother is an English professor. He earned his degree in 1997 from The University of the South, in Sewanee, Tennessee.

His first book, Blood Horses: Notes of a Sportswriter's Son, was published in 2004. It is part personal reminiscence, part elegy for his father, and part investigation into the history and culture of the thoroughbred racehorse.[1]

His second book, Pulphead: Essays (2011),[2] is an anthology of fourteen previously published magazine articles, with most of them "in substantially different form"[3] for the book.

Sullivan's essay "Mister Lytle: An Essay," originally published in The Paris Review, won a number of awards, including a National Magazine Award, and was anthologized in Pulphead.[4] Sullivan recounts how he lived with Andrew Nelson Lytle, when Lytle was in his 90s, helping him with house chores and learning some wisdom about writing and life.

His original music appears on the self-titled album Life of Saturdays.

In 2017, he helped lead a small group of 8th-grade students on a scavenger hunt to resurrect lost copies of The Daily Record, the African–American newspaper at the center of a white supremacist coup d'état and massacre that occurred in his adopted home town of Wilmington, NC, in 1898.[5] He and his team located seven total copies, all of which are now digitized and available for view via the N.C. Digital Heritage Project.

In 2019, the New Yorker published Sullivan's novella, "Mother Nut," on its website.[6][7]

Sullivan is married to Dr. Mariana Johnson, a film scholar and professor.[8] They have two daughters.

John Jeremiah Sullivan at 6 years old in Lexington, Kentucky




  • Blood horses : notes of a sportswriter's son. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 2004.
  • Pulphead: Essays, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011.

Essays and reporting[edit]

The New Yorker
Harper's Magazine
New York Magazine
The New York Times Magazine
The Paris Review

The Oxford American

The Yale Review


  1. ^ Tait, Theo (March 21, 2013). "Blood Horses by John Jeremiah Sullivan – review". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  2. ^ "Pulp Fever", Daniel Riley, GQ, November 3, 2011.
  3. ^ Pulphead, Copyright page, front matter.
  4. ^ Rudick, Nicole (May 10, 2011). "The Paris Review Wins National Magazine Award". The Paris Review. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  5. ^ "Middle Schoolers Help Transcribe, Digitize Rare Historical Newspapers". Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  6. ^ Berrett, Trevor (December 25, 2019). "John Jeremiah Sullivan: Mother Nut". The Mookse and the Gripes. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  7. ^ Sullivan, John Jeremiah. ""Mother Nut"". The New Yorker. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  8. ^ WECT Staff. "Two new film-related master's programs at UNCW now accepting applications". Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  9. ^ "Prize Citation for John Jeremiah Sullivan". Windham–Campbell Literature Prize. February 24, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  10. ^ "2016 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grantee: John Jeremiah Sullivan". Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  11. ^ Online version is titled "Rhiannon Giddens and what folk music means".

External links[edit]