Lauren Oliver Author Biography Essay
I come from a family of writers and so have always (mistakenly) believed that spending hours in front of the computer every day, mulling over the difference between “chortling” and “chuckling,” is normal. I’ve always been an avid reader. As a child, after finishing a book, I would continue to write a sequel for its characters, because I did not want to have to give them up. Somehow, this did not get me ridiculed (too badly) at school, and I managed to make real friends as well as imaginary ones.
I continued writing, eventually making the switch to my own stories and characters (with varying degrees of success). I also took ballet, drew things, painted things, made collages, sang, acted, experimented with cooking (um, burning) gourmet meals, and in general tried to spend my time being as creative and useless as possible. It worked. I made it through high school and college at the University of Chicago, where I continued to be as impractical as possible by majoring in philosophy and literature. I was inadvertently aided and abetted in my mission by my older sister, Lizzie, who pursued a Ph.D. in philosophy and cognitive science. This eventually lead our parents to resign themselves to the fact that their children would never be lawyers, doctors, or even gainfully employed.
After college, I attended the MFA program at NYU and worked briefly as the world’s worst editorial assistant, and only marginally better assistant editor, at a major publishing house in New York. My major career contributions during this time were flouting the corporate dress code at every possible turn and repeatedly breaking the printer. Before I Fall is my first published novel. I am deeply grateful for the chance to continue writing, as I have never been particularly good at anything else.
I live in Brooklyn, the happiest place on earth, although I spend a lot of time traveling, especially to warmer climes. I (still) love to cook, am slightly obsessive about my kitchen, drink way too much coffee and eat far too much ketchup, even on things like toast and tomatoes.
I spend a lot of time on trains, airplanes, subways, and buses, and write constantly—in notebooks, on napkins, using her phone. I have ten tattoos (and counting—sorry, mom), a wonderful family, and the world’s best best friends, many of whom I have known for ten years or longer.
Hello and thanks for checking out my website! Here’s some information about me:
I was born in Queens and raised in Westchester, New York, in a small town very similar to the one depicted in Before I Fall. My parents are both literature professors, and from a very early age, my sister and I were encouraged to make up stories, draw, paint, dance around in costumes, and essentially spend much of our time living imaginatively. Our house was old and full of art and towers and towers of books, and that’s still the kind of house I like best.
I started writing as a way of extending my love of reading; when I read a book I loved, I would continue to write sequels for it (I was inadvertently a fan fic writer, before “fan fiction” was even a term!). Later on, I began working on my own stories, and keeping company with a lot of imaginary friends.
I pursued literature and philosophy at the University of Chicago, and then moved back to New York to attend NYU’s MFA program in creative writing. I simultaneously began working at Penguin Books, in a young adult division called Razorbill, and while there, I started work on Before I Fall. I left in 2009 to pursue writing full-time, and now I happily work in my pajamas every day.
I have a variety of interests apart from writing, including reading, cooking, traveling, dancing, running, and making up weird songs. Some of my favorite things are: being cozy; fires; autumn; fuzzy slippers; very high heels; great wine; dark chocolate; ketchup; pasta. Things I hate: practical shoes, liars, and bananas. I divide my time between Brooklyn, upstate New York, and various hotel rooms.