John Jeremiah Sullivan

Nonfiction

2015

United States

John Jeremiah Sullivan’s wide-ranging, exuberant essays engage the full spectrum of American life with passion, precision, and wit.

John Jeremiah Sullivan is an essayist of astonishing range, taking up subjects as diverse as Southern Agrarians, Michael Jackson, and MTV’s The Real World. Dwight Garner described Sullivan in the New York Times as “among the best young nonfiction writers in English,” and his empathetic and bracingly intelligent profiles have earned him comparisons to Tom Wolfe and David Foster Wallace. His essays have appeared in The Paris Review, GQ, Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Oxford American, and elsewhere. Reviewing his collection Pulphead (2011) in the New Yorker, James Wood wrote that Sullivan “seems to have in abundance the storyteller’s gifts: he is a fierce noticer, is undauntedly curious, is porous to gossip, and has a memory of childlike tenacity.” Pulphead was preceded by Blood Horses: Notes of a Sportswriter’s Son (2004), an ambitious meditation on horse racing instigated by his father’s fond memory of the Kentucky Derby. Sullivan has been awarded two National Magazine Awards, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and a Pushcart Prize. He lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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I couldn't overstate how encouraging this award is, or how practically helpful. In this phase of my writing life I feel a desperate need to stay down over the research I'm doing, not look up, and the prize makes that possible. It's also a very genuine (and obvious) honor to be associated in any way with the Beinecke. In fact there's a book at the library I need to look at for a project. It's a journal kept by Jonathan Edwards in 1744. He wrote it on recycled pages of an old copy of the London Daily Gazette. But which day's copy? That's what I want to find out...
John Jeremiah Sullivan