J. Courtney Sullivan by Lauren Holland

J. Courtney SullivanJ. Courtney Sullivan was a guest speaker in the Duke University Making Media Course in the Fall of 2009.  This post was prepared by Lauren Holland in preparation for the visit.

J. Courtney Sullivan is a driven young woman who embraces her passionate spirit and uses her writing talents to channel and express her allegiance to women everywhere.  Ms. Sullivan is a graduate from Smith College, a private, women’s, liberal arts college located in Northampton, Massachusetts.  During her time at Smith, Ms. Sullivan studied gender issues and was involved in women’s groups on campus.

Ms. Sullivan has been writing stories since kindergarten, where she knew from that point on that she wanted to be a writer.  Her interest in women’s studies and identification as a feminist began in high school, with her role model being her working mother as well as an influential teacher from school.  During this time, Sullivan developed an enthusiasm toward many notable books related to women’s movements and women’s value in society such as “The Feminine Mystique,” “Backlash,” and “The Beauty Myth.”

Upon graduation from Smith, Sullivan moved to Manhattan where she took a position writing for Allure.  She is now a Brooklyn-based writer who serves on the advisory board of Girls Write Now, is in the editorial department of the New York Times, and has had work appear in numerous publications such as New York Magazine, Elle, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, the New York Observer, and the essay anthology “The Secret Currency of Love.”

Sullivan’s debut novel Commencement revolves around four women and their journey through the elite Smith College, into their “freshman year of life” and beyond.  Reviews rave that the novel is, “Written with radiant style and a wicked sense of humor, Commencement not only captures the intensity of college friendships and first loves, but also explores with great candor the complicated and contradictory landscape facing young women today.”  While embracing the contradictions of her feminist beliefs and romantic fantasies, Sullivan continues to impress and educate the literary community and all who read her writing.








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