Jodi Picoult, 47, is the bestselling author of of twenty-one novels: Songs of the Humpback Whale (1992), Harvesting the Heart (1994), Picture Perfect (1995), Mercy (1996), The Pact (1998), Keeping Faith (1999), Plain Truth (2000), Salem Falls (2001), Perfect Match (2002), Second Glance (2003), My Sister’s Keeper(2004), Vanishing Acts (2005), The Tenth Circle (2006) Nineteen Minutes (2007), Change of Heart (2008), Handle With Care (2009), House Rules (2010), and Sing You Home (2011), Lone Wolf (2012) and the YA novel Between the Lines (2012) co-written with her daughter Samantha van Leer. Her last seven novels, including The Storyteller, her most recent, have debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list.
Picoult studied creative writing with Mary Morris at Princeton, and had two short stories published in Seventeen magazine while still a student. Realism – and a profound desire to be able to pay the rent – led Picoult to a series of different jobs following her graduation: as a technical writer for a Wall Street brokerage firm, as a copywriter at an ad agency, as an editor at a textbook publisher, and as an 8th grade English teacher – before entering Harvard to pursue a master’s in education. She married Tim Van Leer, whom she had known at Princeton, and it was while she was pregnant with her first child that she wrote her first novel, Songs of the Humpback Whale.
In 2003 she was awarded the New England Bookseller Award for Fiction. She has also been the recipient an Alex Award from the Young Adult Library Services Association, sponsored by the Margaret Alexander Edwards Trust and Booklist, one of ten books written for adults that have special appeal for young adults; the Book Browse Diamond Award for novel of the year; a lifetime achievement award for mainstream fiction from the Romance Writers of America; Cosmopolitan magazine’s ‘Fearless Fiction’ Award 2007; Waterstone’s Author of the Year in the UK, a Vermont Green Mountain Book Award, a NH Granite State Book Award, a Virginia Reader’s Choice Award, the Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award, and a Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award. She’s the 2013-14 recipient of the New Hampshire Literary Award for Outstanding Literary Merit. She wrote five issues of the Wonder Woman comic book series for DC Comics. Her books are translated into thirty four languages in thirty five countries. Four – The Pact, Plain Truth, The Tenth Circle, and Salem Falls – have been made into television movies. My Sister’s Keeper was a big-screen released from New Line Cinema, with Nick Cassavetes directing and Cameron Diaz starring, which is now available in DVD. She received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Dartmouth College in 2010 and another from the University of New Haven in 2012.
Picoult is part of the Writer’s Council for the National Writing Project, which recognizes the universality of writing as a communicative tool and helps teachers enhance student writing. She is a spokesperson for Positive Tracks/Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth, which supports youth-led charity fundraising through athletics; and is on the advisory committee of the New Hampshire Coalition Against the Death Penalty. She is also the founder and executive producer of the Trumbull Hall Troupe, a New Hampshire-based teen theater group that performs original musicals to raise money for local charities; to date their contributions have exceeded $80K. She and her husband and their three children live in Hanover, New Hampshire with two Springer spaniels, two rescue puppies, two donkeys, two geese, eight chickens, and the occasional Holstein.