Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Billie Letts  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: 1938 in Tulsa, Oklahoma

-- Billie Letts on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Letts taught in Cairo and Paxton Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Letts is a novelist and educator. She is the author of numerous highly acclaimed short stories and screenplays, and a former professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.Aside from her teaching career, Billie Letts has also worked as a waitress, window washer, dance instructor, dishwasher, roller-skating waitress at a drive-in restaurant, and secretary to a private detective!Her first novel, ''Where the Heart Is'', won the Walker Percy Award, sold more than three million copies, and was chosen as an Oprah's Book Club selection in December 1998. It was made into a major motion picture in 2000 and was directed by Matt Williams, starring Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd and Stockard Channing. Her husband, Dennis Letts, also appeared in the film. Her second novel, ''The Honk and Holler Opening Soon'', was named the first “Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma” selection. Her third novel, ''Shoot the Moon'', was both a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. Billie Letts currently resides in Oklahoma.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Where the Heart Is
ISBN: B000Q67J5M

Grand Central Publishing. 2001

Talk about unlucky sevens. An hour ago, seventeen-year-old, seven months pregnant Novalee Nation was heading for California with her boyfriend. Now she finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma, with just $7.77 in change. But Novalee is about to discover hidden treasures in this small Southwest town--a group of down-to-earth, deeply caring people willing to help a homeless, jobless girl living secretly in a Wal-Mart. From Bible-thumping blue-haired Sister Thelma Husband to eccentric librarian Forney Hull who loves Novalee more than she loves herself, they are about to take her--and you, too--on a moving, funny, and unforgettable journey to . . . Where the Heart Is.

The Honk and Holler Opening Soon
ISBN: 0446675059

Grand Central Publishing. 1999

Caney Paxton wanted his cafe to have the biggest and brightest sign in Eastern Oklahoma-the "opening soon" part was supposed to be just a removable, painted notice. But a fateful misunderstanding gave Vietnam vet Caney the flashiest joke in the entire state. Twelve years later, the once-busy highway is dead and the sign is as worn as Caney, who hasn't ventured outside the diner since it opened. Then one blustery December day, a thirtyish Crow woman blows in with a three-legged dog in her arms and a long-buried secret on her mind. Hiring on as a carhop, Vena Takes Horse is soon shaking up business, the locals, and Caney's she teaches them all about generosity of spirit, love, and the possibility of promise-just like the sign says.

Shoot the Moon (Fiction/Grand Central Publishing)
ISBN: 0446401145

Grand Central Publishing. 2008

From one of America's best-loved storytellers - the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller WHERE THE HEART IS - comes her latest national bestseller, a tale of a small Oklahoma town and the mystery that has haunted its residents for years.

In 1972, windswept DeClare, Oklahoma, was consumed by the murder of a young mother, Gaylene Harjo, and the disappearance of her baby, Nicky Jack. When the child's pajama bottoms were discovered on the banks of Willow Creek, everyone feared that he, too, had been killed, although his body was never found.

Nearly thirty years later, Nicky Jack mysteriously returns to DeClare, shocking the town and stirring up long-buried memories. But what he discovers about the night he vanished is more astonishing than he or anyone could have imagine. Piece by piece, what emerges is a story of dashed hopes, desperate love, and a secret that still cries out for justice...and redemption.

Made in the U.S.A.
ISBN: 044658245X

Grand Central Publishing. 2009

The bestselling author of WHERE THE HEART IS returns with a heartrending tale of two children in search of a place to call home.

Lutie McFee's history has taught her to avoid people, to places, and to almost everything. With her mother long dead and her father long gone to find his fortune in Las Vegas, 15-year-old Lutie lives in the god-forsaken town of Spearfish, South Dakota with her twelve-year-old brother, Fate, and Floy Satterfield, the 300-pound ex-girlfriend of her father. While Lutie shoplifts for kicks, Fate spends most of his time reading, watching weird TV shows and worrying about global warming and the endangerment of pandas. As if their life is not dismal enough, one day, while shopping in their local Wal-Mart, Floy keels over and the two motherless kids are suddenly faced with the choice of becoming wards of the state or hightailing it out of town in Floy's old Pontiac. Choosing the latter, they head off to Las Vegas in search of a father who has no known address, no phone number and, clearly, no interest in the kids he left behind.

MADE IN THE U.S.A. is the alternately heartbreaking and life-affirming story of two gutsy children who must discover how cruel, unfair and frightening the world is before they come to a place they can finally call home.


Walker Percy Award in 1994 for ''Where the Heart Is'' Oklahoma Book Award in 1996 ''The Honk and Holler Opening Soon'' was named the first Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma selection Oprah's Book Club - Best Novel nominee for ''Where the Heart Is''

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

Contact Agent Elaine Markson at Markson Thoma Literary Agency 44 Greenwich Ave. New York, New York 10011