Jonathan Raymond is an American writer living in Portland, Oregon. He is best known for writing the novels The Half-Life and Rain Dragon, and for writing the short stories and screenplays for the films Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy (both directed by Kelly Reichardt). He also wrote the screenplays for Meek's Cutoff and Night Moves, and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for his teleplay writing on the HBO miniseries, Mildred Pierce.
He published his first novel, The Half-Life in May 2004, which was released by Bloomsbury. The novel takes place in Oregon and revolves around two parallel storylines: the cook Cookie Figowitz meeting with the refugee Henry Brown in 1820s Oregon, and 160 years later (1980), Tina Plank befriending Trixie, a girl with a troubled past. The novel won a Publisher’s Weekly "Best Book of 2004" award.
In 2008, Raymond published his first collection of short stories, entitled Livability, which won the Oregon Book Award's Ken Kesey Award for Fiction in 2009. The collection was also a Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writer’s" selection. Two stories from that collection (Old Joy and Train Choir) were adapted into feature films.
Old Joy, a short story Raymond wrote that was inspired by the photography of Justine Kurland, became adapted into the film Old Joy, directed by Kelly Reichardt and starring musician Will Oldham. The film premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and won awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Sarasota Film Festival and the Independent Spirit Awards (producer Neil Kopp won the Producer's Award), and was on various "Top 10 Films of 2006" lists including those from LA Weekly, Portland Oregonian, The A.V. Club, The Boston Globe, and Entertainment Weekly.
Raymond's story Train Choir was adapted into the feature film Wendy and Lucy, also directed by Kelly Reichardt and starring Michelle Williams, and which had its world premiere at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. The film won both Best Picture and Best Actress (for Williams) at the 12th Toronto Film Critics Association Awards. Wendy and Lucy was also placed at #87 on Slant Magazine's best films of the 2000s, and also appeared on many "Top 10 Films of 2008" lists, including those of the Chicago Reader, New York Post, Newsweek, The Austin Chronicle, LA Weekly, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, The Oregonian, Slate, The Village Voice, and The Christian Science Monitor.
In 2012, Raymond also published a second novel, Rain Dragon, which revolves around the character of Damon and his girlfriend Amy, who have had enough of Los Angeles and decide to leave the city to work on a community farm.
Raymond has co-written the screenplays for both films based on his short stories (the other writer and director being Kelly Reichardt), Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy. For Old Joy, he was also nominated, along with the director and producers of the film, for a John Cassavetes Award from the 2007 Independent Spirit Awards.
Raymond also wrote the screenplay for the 2010 western film, Meek's Cutoff, which was also directed by Kelly Reichardt and which competed (and was nominated) for the Golden Lion at the 67th Venice International Film Festival. The film stars Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Bruce Greenwood, Zoe Kazan and Will Patton, and won the SIGNIS award for director Kelly Reichhardt at Venice, a Producer's Award for producer Anish Savjani at the Independent Spirit Awards, and Best Director for Reichardt at the 2010 Gijon International Film Festival. Raymond was also nominated for a Humanitas Prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival for his screenplay of the film, and the film received a "Best Film" nomination from the 2011 Gotham Awards as well.
Raymond has most recently co-wrote the screenplay for the 2013 film, Night Moves, directed by Kelly Reichardt, and also starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, and Peter Sarsgaard. The film was shown in the main competition section of the 70th Venice International Film Festival in 2013 and at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival as well. The film won a "Best Director of Photography" award for cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt at the 2013 Valladolid International Film Festival.
Teleplays and TV Writing
Raymond also co-wrote all the teleplays (all five episodes) for the 2011 five-part HBO miniseries, Mildred Pierce, directed and also co-written by Todd Haynes based on James M. Cain's novel, and starring Kate Winslet as the title character, as well as Guy Pearce, Melissa Leo, Evan Rachel Wood and others. For his writing work on the show, Raymond was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for "Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special" (shared with Todd Haynes).
Raymond's professional duties include co-editing Tin House, editing Plazm, art criticism for Artforum and Modern Painters, and teaching through The New School. Raymond’s writing has also appeared in Bookforum, the Village Voice, and other publications.
Raymond has also produced the 2012 feature film, Buoy, directed by Steven Doughton and starring Matthew Del Negro and Tina Holmes. He has also served as the assistant to Writer/Director Todd Haynes on the set of his 2002 film, Far From Heaven, starring Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid. Raymond used the name "Slats Grobnik" (a character created by Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko) when he worked as Haynes' assistant on Far From Heaven, and Roger Ebert noticed this deep in the credits and wrote about it in his "Movie Yearbook 2004."
- Rain Dragon: A Novel (2012), ISBN 978-1-60819-679-1
- Livability: Stories (2008), ISBN 978-1-59691-655-5
- The Half-Life: A Novel (2004), ISBN 978-1-58234-578-9 (2005 paperback)
- Publisher’s Weekly "Best Book of 2004" award
- Old Joy (2004), with Justine Kurland, ISBN 978-1-891273-05-6
- Night Moves (2013) (with Kelly Reichardt)
- Meek's Cutoff (2010) (with Kelly Reichardt)
- 2011 Sundance Film Festival Humanitas Award Nomination
- Wendy and Lucy (2008) (with Kelly Reichardt) (based on his short story Train Choir in the collection Livability)
- Old Joy (2006) (with Kelly Reichardt) (based on his short story Old Joy in the collection Livability)
- Mildred Pierce (2011) (teleplays for all five episodes, Part One to Part Five)
Awards and nominations
- For Mildred Pierce: Primetime Emmy Nomination for "Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special" (shared with Todd Haynes)
- For Livability (Short story collection): Oregon Book Award's Ken Kesey for Fiction in 2009 and Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writer’s" selection)
- For The Half-Life: A Novel: Publishers Weekly "Best Book of 2004" Award
- For Meek's Cutoff screenplay, 2011 Sundance Film Festival Humanitas Award Nomination
- Douglas Perry, The Oregonian, Writer Jon Raymond sees his work realized in Oregon films, http://www.oregonlive.com/movies/index.ssf/2009/01/writer_jon_raymond_sees_his_wo.html
- Amazon.com, The Half-Life by Jon Raymond, http://www.amazon.com/The-Half-Life-Jon-Raymond-ebook/dp/B002TTICCI
- http://www.oregonlive.com/books/index.ssf/2009/10/oregon_book_awards_honor_new_w.html The Oregonian October 27, 2009
- PORT - Portland art + news + reviews
- http://wweek.com/editorial/3242/7904 Wilamette Week August 23, 2006
- . Toronto https://web.archive.org/web/20081217133633/http://www.theglobeandmail.com//servlet/story/LAC.20081217.TOPTEN17/TPStory/Entertainment/. Archived from the original on December 17, 2008. Missing or empty
- "Best of the Aughts: Film". Slant Magazine. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
- "Metacritic: 2008 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on January 2, 2009. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
- Baker, Jeff (January 5, 2009). "Writer Jon Raymond sees his work realized in Oregon films". The Oregonian.
- Pollock, Zoë. "Art Beat: 'Wendy and Lucy' Explores Landscape of Loss". PBS.
- "Jon Raymond interviewed by Identity Theory".