Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Patrick Somerville  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1979 in Wisconsin

-- Website --
-- Patrick Somerville on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Somerville lives in Chicago and teaches in the master's in fine arts programs of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Somerville grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He went to college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and later earned his MFA from Cornell University. He has taught creative writing and English at Cornell, Northwestern University, Auburn State Correctional Facility, and The Graham School in Chicago. His writing has appeared in ''One Story'', ''Epoch'', ''GQ'', ''Esquire'', and ''Best American Nonrequired Reading''.

Published Works

    This Bright River: A Novel, Reagan Arthur Books, 2012The Universe in Miniature in Miniature, Featherproof Books, 2010The Cradle: A Novel, Little, Brown and Company, 2009Trouble: Stories, Vintage, 2006

Selected Titles At Your Library

This bright river :
ISBN: 0316129313. OCLC Number:

Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown and Co.,. New York :. 2012.

"Lauren Sheehan's career in medicine came to a halt after a sequence of violent events abroad. Now she's back in the safest place she knows--St. Helens, Wisconsin--cut off from career, friendship, and romance. Ben Hanson's aimless life bottomed out when he went to prison. But after his release, a surprising offer from his father draws him home. In Wisconsin, he finds his family fractured, still unable to face the truth behind his troubled cousin's death a decade earlier. As Lauren cautiously expands her world and Ben tries to unravel the mysteries of his family and himself, their paths intersect. Could each be exactly what the other needs? A compelling family drama and a surprising love story, THIS BRIGHT RIVER confirms Patrick Somerville's status as one of the most exciting young writers at work today"--

The universe in miniature in miniature /
ISBN: 0982580819. OCLC Number:

. .

A novel-in-stories travels from suburbs to outer space and revolves around the tale "The Machine of Understanding Other People," in which a Chicago man is given a supernatural helmet that lets him experience the inner worlds of others.

The cradle :
ISBN: 0316036129. OCLC Number:

Little, Brown,. New York :. 2009.

In the summer of 1997, a newlywed couple, Matt and Marissa, are living in Wisconsin and expecting their first child. With the baby almost due, Marissa sends Matt on a quest to recover an antique cradle from her mother, who claimed it when she abandoned her family years earlier. Ten years later, a middle-aged couple, Bill and Renee, are living outside Chicago and preparing to see their only son, Adam, off to war in Iraq. Adam's departure brings to the surface deeply personal memories of Renee's first love, and forces the confession of a long-held secret that brings the two stories together in the novel's powerful climax.

Trouble :
ISBN: 0307275353. OCLC Number:

Vintage Contemporaries,. New York :. 2006.

Somerville's collection portrays men and soon-to-be men in various states of transformational chaos. In "Puberty," Brandon, on the cusp of adolescence, attempts to wrest control of his body from Mother Nature by using vitamins to hasten the onset of puberty. In "Crow Moon," Seth mourns his fading childhood and faces a monotonous and unhappy adulthood. In "Cold War," an older doctor's affair with a disturbed young woman is the catalyst for a breakdown as he owns up to his impending mortality.


  • Received the 2009 21st Century Award from the Chicago Public Library
  • Trouble

    was named 2006's Best Book by a Chicago Author by

    Time Out Chicago

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

    For publicity inquires about

    The Cradle

    , contact Marlena Bittner at

    Little, Brown

    at For any questions regarding rights, contact literary agent Brettne Bloom at