Engagements (Sullivan)

Author Bio
Where—near Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Education—B.A., Smith College
Currently—Brooklyn, New York, New York

Julie Courtney Sullivan, better known as J. Courtney Sullivan, is an American novelist and former writer for the New York Times. She comes from an Irish-Catholic family where many of the women go by their middle rather than first names.

Sullivan grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She attended Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she majored in Victorian literature and received the Ellen M. Hatfield Memorial Prize for best short story, the Norma M. Leas prize for excellence in written English, and the Jeanne MacFarland Prize for excellent work in Women's Studies.

She graduated in 2003, then moved to New York and began working at Allure. Sullivan later moved to the New York Times, where she worked for over three years. Her writing has since appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Chicago Tribune, New York magazine, New York Observer, Men's Vogue, Elle, and Glamour.

In 2007, her first book was published, a dating guide titled Dating Up: Dump the Shlump and Find a Quality Man; she has since stated that she wrote the book for money and that "fiction was always [her] passion."

She self-identifies as a feminist, a stance that has been reflected in both her fiction and nonfiction work. In 2006, she wrote a piece for the New York Times "Modern Love" column about her experiences in the dating world, and in 2010 she co-edited a feminist essay collection titled Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists. Her novels often deal prominently with relationships between female characters.

Currently, Sullivan serves on the advisory board of Girls Write Now, a nonprofit organization that pairs young and professional female writers in mentoring partnerships. She has also been involved with GEMS, a New York organization dedicated to ending child sex trafficking.[6]

In 2010, Sullivan published her first novel, Commencement, which focuses on the experiences of four friends at Smith College, Sullivan's alma mater. She wrote 15 different drafts of the book before sending it to her editor, after which it underwent two or three more revisions.

Commencement received positive reviews from many major publications and became a New York Times bestseller. After the book's publication, feminist icon Gloria Steinem called Sullivan personally to offer her praise. Steinem described the novel as "generous-hearted, brave...Commencement makes clear that the feminist revolution is just beginning". In 2011, Oprah's Book Club included Commencement in a list of "5 Feminist Classics to (Re)read as a Mom, Wife and Writer."

Sullivan's second novel, Maine, deals with four women from three different generations of the same family spending the summer at a beachfront cottage in New England. Though Sullivan did not base the fictional Kellehers directly on her own Irish-Catholic family, she drew on her own childhood experiences while writing the novel. Maine received reviews that were slightly more mixed than those for Commencement, but that were ultimately postitive. It was named one of the top ten fiction books of 2011 by Time magazine.

The Engagements
Sullivan's third novel, The Engagements, came out in 2013 to solid reviews. The novel traces four different marriages. Ron Charles of the Washington Post called it, "a delightful marriage of cultural research and literary entertainment." (From Wikipedia. Retrieved 6/11/2013.)

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