Jennifer Egan is in some ways an unlikely candidate for a Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. She’s under 50, female, and writes what many call “experimental” fiction. But this didn’t stop her.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal only minutes after she found out that her latest novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad, received the Prize, Egan said:
“It’s absolutely nutty to win something like this. I feel weird … It seems so fantastical, like I’ve exited from real life. I found out 20 minutes ago. I was just sitting down to lunch in a restaurant and my phone rang. I burst into tears and told the waitress I had received a piece of news and that I had to leave. She told me she was sorry and I said, ‘No, it’s good!’”
After hearing Egan read at a recent appearance at the University of Pennsylvania, I couldn’t wait to check out her Pulitzer-winning work. So far, Goon Squad is a complex, funny, and totally bizarre journey featuring dark characters who are all in some way connected to the music business. It even includes texting language and seventy odd pages of PowerPoint charts. If it’s anything like her first novel, The Invisible Circus, which tells the story of a woman who literally retraces her dead sister’s steps across Europe, it will be dazzling to read, hard to put down, and will challenge the way we think about our closest relationships. I can’t wait to read the rest.
In that same breathless, excited interview with the Journal, Egan ended with a call of encouragement to young writers, especially young women writers, to take risks as she has done: “What I want to see is young, ambitious writers. And there are tons of them…My advice for young female writers would be to shoot high and not cower.” Loud and clear, Jennifer, loud and clear.
To hear Jennifer Egan discuss A Visit from the Goon Squad at the Free Library last summer, click here.
--By Emma E., Foundation Communications Intern