Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Visitor - Class of Spring 2009
Jonathan Franzen is an acclaimed novelist, essayist, and journalist. He is the author of three novels: The Twenty-Seventh City (1988), Strong Motion (1992), and The Corrections (2001), the last of which won the National Book Award for fiction and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, also for fiction. Though strikingly various in tone and method, all three novels are centered on Midwestern families in crisis, and all three are marked by a commitment to engage broadly and deeply with modern life in the developed world.
In addition to his novels, Franzen has published two works of nonfiction: How to Be Alone (2002), a collection of essays, and The Discomfort Zone (2006), a "personal history" of middle America over the last forty years. Franzen has also been contributing journalism to the The New Yorker since 1994; his most recent feature, in April 2008, explored the environmental crisis in modern China.
Jonathan Franzen was a German literature major in college and has lived, studied, and worked extensively in Germany. His new novel, tentatively titled "Freedom," is scheduled to appear in 2010. Photo by Greg Martin