Biography (eNotes Publishing)
Jeffery Eugenides’s childhood experiences in Grosse Pointe, a wealthy suburb of Detroit, Michigan, helped shape his writing career—including two best-selling novels, considerable critical praise, and a Pulitzer prize for his second novel, Middlesex (2002)—and gave him a vivid setting for his fictional reevaluation of the American Dream. Although Eugenides has since traveled the world and taught writing at many prestigious institutions (even Princeton University), his short and long fiction is fixated on memories of home: “I have gone away for a long time, but I’ve seen in my writing no reason to leave Detroit,” he says. With the success of The Virgin Suicides (1993), his debut, and the subsequent success of Middlesex, Eugenides has become one of contemporary fiction’s most prominent novelists, known as an especially gifted composer of imaginative narrative voices, spare prose, and haunting characters. The Virgin Suicides was adapted to film in 1999 by director Sophia Coppola (Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette), who also penned the screenplay.
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Jeffrey Eugenides was born in the affluent Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, Michigan, to Constantine and Wanda Eugenides on March 8, 1960. Despite the family's Greek heritage, his parents wanted to assimilate mainstream American society. He was so influenced by the world of his childhood that his first two novels are set there. His Greek parents' assimilation serves as part of the backdrop for Middlesex (2002).
Eugenides attended and graduated from the prestigious University Liggett School, in Grosse Pointe. After high school, he attended Brown University, from which he graduated magna cum laude in 1983. He continued his education at Stanford University where he received his master's degree in creative writing in 1986.
Until his first novel, The Virgin Suicides, was published in 1993, Eugenides worked at various jobs such as taking photos and writing for Yachtsman magazine, bussing tables in restaurants, and working as a newsletter editor at the American Academy of Poets in New York City. Eugenides also had some rather unusual jobs such as driving a cab in downtown Detroit and serving as a volunteer with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India.
Eugenides won the Aga Khan Prize for fiction when he submitted an excerpt of The Virgin Suicides to the...
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