Water for Elephants (Gruen) - Author Bio

Author Bio
Where—Vancouver, Canada
Raised—London, Ontario
Education—Carleton University (Ottawa)
Currently—lives in western North Carolina

Sara Gruen is the author of the New York Times bestseller Water for Elephants and Riding Lessons. She lives in western North Carolina with her husband, three sons, and a menagerie of rescued animals. (From the publisher.)

Sara Gruen is a Canadian-born author, whose books deal greatly with animals; she is a supporter of numerous charitable organizations that support animals and wildlife.

Gruen moved to the U.S. from Canada in 1999 for a technical writing job. When she was laid off two years later, she decided to try her hand at writing fiction. A devoted animal lover, her first novel, Riding Lessons (2004), explored the intimate and often healing spaces between people and animals and was a USA Today bestseller. She wrote a second novel, Flying Changes (2005), also about horses.

Although her first two novels sold several hundred thousands of copies—and Riding Lessons was a best seller—her third release, Water for Elephants, was initially turned down by her publisher at the time, forcing Gruen to find another publisher. That book, of course, went on to become one of the top-selling novels of our time. Readers fell in love with its story of Jacob, the young man tossed by fate onto a rickety circus train that was home to Rosie, the untrainable elephant. This #1 New York Times bestseller has been printed in 44 languages and the movie version (2011) stars Reese Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz, and Robert Pattinson.

Gruen sold her fourth novel, Ape House (2010), on the basis of a 12-page summary to Random House, which won that and another of her novels in a bidding war with 8 other publishers. Ape House features the amazing Bonobo ape. When a number of apes are kidnapped from a language laboratory, their mysterious appearance on a reality TV show calls into question our assumptions about these animals who share 99.4% of our DNA.

Gruen has had a life-long fascination with human-ape discourse, with a particular interest in Bonobo apes. She has studied linguistics and a system of lexigrams in order to communicate with apes, and is one of the few visitors who has been allowed access to the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa, where the apes have come to love her. In bringing her experience and research to bear on her fourth novel, she opens the animal world to us as few novelists have done.

Sara Gruen’s awards include the 2007 Book Sense Book of the Year Award, the Cosmo Fun Fearless Fiction Award, the Bookbrowse Diamond Award for Most Popular Book, the Friends of American Literature Adult Fiction Award and the ALA/Alex Award 2007. (From Wikipedia.)

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