Jonathan Evison

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Jonathan Evison
Jonathan Evison.jpg
Born (1968-09-27) September 27, 1968 (age 51)
San Jose, California
GenreLiterary Fiction

Jonathan Evison (born September 27, 1968) is an American writer known for his novels All About Lulu, West of Here, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving and This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!. His work, often distinguished by its emotional resonance and offbeat humor, has been compared by critics to a variety of authors, most notably J.D. Salinger,[1] Charles Dickens, T.C. Boyle,[2] and John Irving.[3] Sherman Alexie has called Evison "the most honest white man alive."[4]


Evison's debut novel, All About Lulu, published in 2008 by Soft Skull Press, won critical acclaim, including the Washington State Book Award, and landed on many year-end "Best of" lists, including Hudson Booksellers, where it enjoyed the added distinction of being the only independent title selected in 2008. The L Magazine included All About Lulu in its Best Books of the Decade.[5] Evison's second novel, the New York Times Bestselling West of Here, was released in 2011 by Algonquin Books. West of Here won the 2012 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award and the Booklist Editor's Choice Award, and was named Book of the Year by Hudson Booksellers. Editor Chuck Adams has called West of Here the best novel he's worked on in over four decades of publishing.[6] His third novel, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, released in 2012, was also widely acclaimed, earning him his second Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award in as many years. In the New York Times, Janet Maslin called the novel "Evison's most stealthily powerful" [work]. The novel was turned into the 2016 film The Fundamentals of Caring by director Rob Burnett of Worldwide Pants, starring Paul Rudd, Selena Gomez, and Craig Roberts. The film was released as a Netflix original.[7] Evison's fourth novel, This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! was published in fall of 2015, and soon after optioned by Focus Features, where it is currently in development. His fifth novel, Lawn Boy was published in the spring of 2018, receiving starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. The New York Times Book Review called Lawn Boy’s protagonist, Mike Munoz, "a Holden Caulfield for a new millineum," and stated: "Evison’s subject matter and wit is a welcome departure from self-conscious MFA trust funded prose."[8] School Library Journal called Lawn Boy "Eminently readable and deeply thought-provoking, Evison's deceptively simple novel takes on tough issues such as race, sexual identity, and the crushing weight of American capitalism."[9] The Washington Post said "Evison takes a battering ram to stereotypes about race and class," and called the book "an evervescent novel of hope that can enlighten everyone."[10]


Evison was born in San Jose, California, September 27, 1968, the youngest of five children. In 1976, his mother relocated the family to Bainbridge Island, Washington, when he was eight years old. He credits his third-grade teacher for making a writer out of him: "A lot of stuff, including my sister’s death, and my parents’ crumbling marriage, made for a rough patch around then. Also, my mania was practically off the charts. I ran my teachers ragged. My third-grade teacher, Mrs. Hanford, god love her, recognized that I liked to write, so she finally started sitting me in a corner and just letting me write, and in doing so, accomplished two things: She negated a huge distraction for the rest of the class, and she made a writer out of me."[11] In his teens, Evison was the founding member and frontman of the Seattle punk band March of Crimes, which included future members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. He graduated from Bainbridge High School in 1986, before moving back to California to care for his agoraphobic grandmother.[12] He attended community college at College of San Mateo off and on for three years, never receiving a degree. Evison allegedly wrote six unpublished novels before the publication of All About Lulu, physically burying three of them,[13] and purportedly burning all of his rejection letters.,[14]

Evison is renowned for his extensive and colorful book touring,[15] and his love of beer.[16] In 2009 and 2011 he was nominated by the American Book Association as Most Engaging Author.[17]



Awards & Honors[edit]

All About Lulu

  • 2008 Hudson Booksellers Best Books of the Year
  • 2009 Washington State Book Award
  • 2009 Richard Buckley Fellowship from the Christopher Isherwood Foundation
  • The El Magazine Best Books of the Decade
  • Time Out Chicago Best Books of the Year

West of Here

  • New York Times Bestseller
  • 2012 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award
  • 2012 Hudson Booksellers Best Books of the Year
  • September 2012 Indie Next Pick
  • Publishers Weekly "BEA Galley to Grab" and "Top Ten: Literary Fiction" pick
  • 2012 Booklist Editors Choice Award

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

  • New York Times Editors Choice
  • 2012 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award
  • 2012 Hudson Booksellers Best Books of the Year
  • September 2012 Indie Next pick
  • Publishers Weekly "Top Ten: Literary Fiction" pick

This is Your Life, Harriet Chance!

  • 2015 Chicago Library Best of the Best Book List
  • 2015 Pacific Norhtwest Bookseller Award (finalist)


  • 2009, 2011 & 2012 American Booksellers Association "Most Engaging Author" (Nominee)
  • 2013 Above and Beyond Award, Honoring Literary Citizenship (Nominee)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 15, 2009. Retrieved June 5, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^
  3. ^ Constant, Paul. "Constant Reader". The Stranger.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 27, 2013. Retrieved September 21, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Well, At Least There Was Good Stuff to Read: The Books of the Decade". The L Magazine. December 29, 2009.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 1, 2010. Retrieved June 5, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "The Fundamentals of Caring" – via
  8. ^ Stapinski, Helene (June 1, 2018). "Jungle Mold, Ornithology and Lawn Care: 3 New Novels Find Hilarity in Unexpected Places" – via
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Idaho Mountain Express: Keep him in a corner - September 4, 2013".
  12. ^ "Jonathan Evison gets in touch with his inner 80-year-old woman for 'Harriet Chance'". Los Angeles Times. September 9, 2015.
  13. ^ "The Rumpus Interview with Jonathan Evison". The February 14, 2011.
  14. ^ "Editor's Blog". Author.
  15. ^ "Bookslut | The Endless Book Tour: On the Road with Jonathan Evison".
  16. ^[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "ABA Announces the 2011 Indies Choice and E.B. White Award Winners". the American Booksellers Association. April 6, 2011.