Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Jonathan Franzen  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1959 in Western Springs, Illinois

-- Jonathan Franzen on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Jonathan Franzen was born in Western Springs, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Jonathan Franzen is a novelist and essayist. He was born in Western Springs, Illinois and grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. A graduate of Swarthmore College (1981), Franzen began publishing novels in the late 1980s. His book, ''The Corrections'', a sprawling, satirical family drama, drew widespread critical acclaim, earned Franzen a National Book Award and was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The Corrections, his third novel, was getting good reviews and selling well when Oprah Winfrey announced she had selected it as her "book of the month." Franzen's response was less than enthusiastic and he became known as the guy who snubbed Oprah Winfrey's television book club.Franzen currently resides in New York City and Santa Cruz, California.

Selected Titles At Your Library

The twenty-seventh city /
ISBN: 0312420145. OCLC Number:

Farrar Straus Giroux,. New York :. 1988.

St. Louis is embroiled in a political conspiracy after Jammu, a young woman from India, is installed as its new police chief. To succeed she realizes that respected businessman Martin Probst must be seduced or destroyed.

Strong motion /
ISBN: 031242051X. OCLC Number:

Farrar, Straus, Giroux,. New York :. 1992.

Louis Holland inherits the family chemical business and meets someone who thinks the earthquakes around Boston are caused by human hands.

How to be alone :
ISBN: 0312422164. OCLC Number:

Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Picador,. New York :. 2003.

From the National Book Award-winning author of "The Corrections, a collection of essays that reveal him to be one of our sharpest, toughest, and most entertaining social critics While the essays in this collection range in subject matter from the sex-advice industry to the way a supermax prison works, each one wrestles with the essential themes of Franzen's writing: the erosion of civil life and private dignity; and the hidden persistence of loneliness in postmodern, imperial America. Reprinted here for the first time is Franzen's controversial 1996 investigation of the fate of the American novel in what became known as "the Harper's essay, " as well as his award-winning narrative of his father's struggle with Alzheimer's disease, and a rueful account of his brief tenure as an Oprah Winfrey author.

The discomfort zone :
ISBN: 0374299196. OCLC Number:

Farrar, Straus and Giroux,. New York :. 2006.

The author describes growing up in a family of all boys in Webster Groves, Missouri, reflecting on such topics as the dynamics of a Christian youth fellowship, his role as the school prankster, his marriage, and the life lessons he has learned from birds.

Freedom /
ISBN: 0312600844. OCLC Number:

. .

This novel follows several members of an American family, the Berglunds, as well as their close friends and lovers, as complex and troubled relationships unfold over many years. The book follows them through the last decades of the twentieth century and concludes near the beginning of the Obama administration. The Berglunds are the middle class suburban family that the neighbors just love to talk about. Walter, the successful and doting husband, and Patty, the tall ex varsity basketball player who bakes Christmas cookies for each resident of Barrier Street, seem like the perfect couple. But life is not the pretty picture presented to the world. When their precious first born is corrupted by the wanton girl next door, the edges fray on the Berglunds' family fabric. An old friend emerges, tall, dark and only slightly disheveled and mistakes are made.


  • 1988 Whiting Writers' Award
  • 1996 Granta's Best Of Young American Novelists
  • 2001 National Book Award for
  • The Corrections

  • 2001 New York Times Best Books of the Year
  • 2001 Salon Book Award (Fiction)

  • 2001 New York Times Best Books of the Year for
  • The Corrections

  • 2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist (Fiction)

  • 2002 James Tait Black Memorial Prize winner (Fiction)


    The Corrections

  • 2002 PEN/Faulkner Award finalist
  • 2011 Chicago Tribune's Heartland Prize for Fiction for
  • Freedom

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (No)