Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Tawni O`Dell  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1964 in Indiana, Pennsylvania

-- Website --
-- Tawni O`Dell on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Tawni O'Dell graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and spent many years living in the Chicago area before moving back to Pennsylvania where she now lives with her two children and her husband.

Biographical and Professional Information

Tawni was born and raised in the coal-mining region of western Pennsylvania, the territory she writes about with such striking authenticity.

Published Works

  • Back Roads, Viking Penguin, 2000
  • Coal Run, Viking Penguin, 2004
  • Sister Mine: A Novel, Three Rivers Press; Reprint edition, 2008
  • Sister Mine, John Murray, 2008
  • Fragile Beast, Crown, 2010

Selected Titles At Your Library

Sister mine :
ISBN: 030735167X. OCLC Number:

Shaye Areheart Books,. New York :. ©2007.

Shae-Lynn Penrose has spent years building a life for herself and her son in Jolly Mount, Pennsylvania, the tiny coal-mining town in which she grew up, but her life is thrown into disarray by the arrival of the younger sister she had thought dead.

Sister mine /
ISBN: 0719556775. OCLC Number:

John Murray,. London :. ©2008.

"Set in the mining town of Jolly Mount, Pennsylvania, Sister Mine is told in the wry, honest and sometimes heartbreakingly poignant voice of Shae-Lynn Penrose, offbeat ex-cop and now sole proprietor of the local cab company. Two years previously, five of Shae-Lynn's friends were thrust into the media spotlight when the pit in which they were working exploded. They survived five days underground and emerged as heroes - but neither they nor their town have ever been the same since."--Cover.

Fragile beasts :
ISBN: 0307351688. OCLC Number:

Shaye Areheart Books,. New York :. ©2010.

When their hard-drinking, but loving, father dies in a car accident, teenage brothers Kyle and Klint Hayes face a bleak prospect: leaving their Pennsylvania hometown for an uncertain life in Arizona with the mother who ran out on them years ago. But in a strange twist of fate, their town's matriarch, an eccentric, wealthy old woman whose family once owned the county coal mines, hears the boys' story. Candace Jack doesn't have an ounce of maternal instinct, yet for reasons she does not even understand herself, she is compelled to offer them a home. Suddenly, the two boys go from living in a small, run-down house on a gravel road to a stately mansion filled with sumptuous furnishings and beautiful artwork--artwork that's predominantly centered, oddly, on bullfighting. And then there's Miss Jack's real-life bull: Ventisco--a regal, hulking, jet-black beast who roams the land she owns with fiery impudence.


  • New York Times

    bestselling author of the novels

    Sister Mine


    Coal Run

    , and

    Back Roads

    , which was an Oprah's Book Club pick and a Book-of-the-Month Club Main Selection

  • Back Roads

    is currently in development to be made into a film by Michael Ohoven at Infinity Media

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (No)