Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Lee Martin  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction

Born: 1955 in Lawrenceville, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Lee Martin on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Lee was born in Lawrenceville, Illinois and attended Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. He lived in Illinois from 1955 through 1979. His memoirs, ''From Our House'' and ''Turning Bones'', feature Illinois settings.

Biographical and Professional Information

Martin is the award-winning author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist ''The Bright Forever''; a novel, ''Quakertown''; a short story collection, ''The Least You Need to Know''; and two acclaimed memoirs, ''From Our House'' and ''Turning Bones''. Martin graduated from Eastern Illinois University, the University of Arkansas and University of Nebraska. He now resides in Columbus, Ohio, where he directs the creative writing program at The Ohio State University.

Published Works

  • The Least You Need to Know, Sarabande Books, 1996
  • From Our House, EP Dutton, 2000
  • Quakertown, Penguin Group, 2001
  • Turning Bones, University of Nebraska Press, 2003
  • The Bright Forever, Shaye Arehart Books, 2005
  • The River of Heaven, Shaye Arehart Books, 2008
  • Break the Skin, Crown Publishing Group, 2011
  • Such a Life, University of Nebraska Press, 2012

Selected Titles At Your Library

The least you need to know :
ISBN: 0964115131. OCLC Number:

Sarabande Books,. Louisville, KY :. ©1996.

Seven stories on people engaged in the business of death. The title story is on a cleaning man whose specialty is cleaning up murder scenes--it is narrated by his son--The End of Sorry is set in an abattoir, and Light Opera is on an undertaker's son.

From our house :
ISBN: 0452282543. OCLC Number:

Plume,. New York :. 2001.

Quakertown /
ISBN: 0525945830. OCLC Number:

Dutton,. New York :. ©2001.

"Based on the true story of a shameful episode in North Texas history," the author tells of "a flourishing black community that was segregated from its white brethren--and of the remarkable gardener who was asked to do the unimaginable."--Jacket.

Turning bones /
ISBN: 0803232314. OCLC Number:

University of Nebraska Press,. Lincoln :. ©2003.

"Farmers and pragmatists, hardworking people who made their way west from Kentucky through Ohio and Indiana to settle at last in southern Illinois, Lee Martin's ancestors left no diaries or journals or letters; apart from the birth certificates and gravestones that marked their comings and goings, they left little written record of their lives. So when Lee, the last living Martin, inherited his great-grandfather's eighty acres and needed to know what had brought his family to this pass and this point, he had only the barest of public records - and the stirrings of his imagination - to connect him to his past, and to his beginnings. Turning Bones is the remarkable story brought to life by this collaboration of personal history and fiction.

The bright forever :
ISBN: 1400097916. OCLC Number:

Shaye Areheart Books,. New York :. ©2005.

On an evening like any other, nine-year-old Katie Mackey, daughter of the most affluent family in a small town on the plains of Indiana, sets out on her bicycle to return some library books. This simple act is at the heart of The Bright Forever, a suspenseful, deeply affecting novel about the choices people make that change their lives forever. Keeping fact, speculation, and contradiction playing off one another as the details unfold, author Lee Martin creates a fast-paced story that is as gripping as it is richly human. His beautiful, clear-eyed prose builds to an extremely nuanced portrayal of the complicated give and take among people struggling to maintain their humanity in the shadow of a loss. Reminiscent of books such as The Little Friend and The Lovely Bones, but most memorable for its own perceptions and power, The Bright Forever is a compelling and emotional tale about the human need to know even the hardest truth. The disappearance of nine-year-old Katie Mackey, the daughter of the most affluent family in a small Indiana town, while riding her bicycle to town to return some library books, has profound repercussions for her entire family, the perpetrator, and the entire community.

River of heaven :
ISBN: 0307381242. OCLC Number:

Shaye Areheart Books,. New York :. ©2008.

The mysterious 1955 death of teenager Dewey Finn has a profound impact on Dewey's boyhood friend Sam Brady, until his estranged brother Cal returns home after decades of self-exile and threatens to reveal the secret of that long-ago night.

Break the skin :
ISBN: 0307716759. OCLC Number:

Crown Publishers,. New York :. ©2011.

Disaffected teenager Laney has no one in the world but the older Delilah. When the police start asking Laney questions, she finds herself reconstructing a story of suspense, deceit, and revenge ... a story that links her to the sadder-but-wiser Miss Baby, seven hundred miles away in Texas.

Such a life /
ISBN: 0803236476. OCLC Number:

University of Nebraska Press,. Lincoln :. ©2012.


  • Finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction,
  • The Bright Forever

  • Lawrence Foundation Award for
  • The Bright Forever

  • Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction for
  • The Least You Need to Know

    in 1995

  • Master Award, Individual Artist Fellowship in Fiction, Nebraska Arts Council in 1995
  • Associated Writing Programs Short Fiction Prize in 1995
  • From Our House

    was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection in 2000 and was nominated for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Awards.

  • Glenna Luschei Prize
  • Martin was honored at the 2004 Illinois Authors Book Fair sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book and the Illinois State Library in Springfield, Illinois.

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

    Contact Information

    Phyllis Wender c/o Rosenstone/Wender 38 E. 29th Street, 10th Floor New York, NY 10016 212-725-9445