J. Courtney Sullivan

Even though she has been writing since she was in kindergarden, it was in fourth grade, after  a novelist visited her class, that Courtney Sullivan was sure that she wanted to be a writer “writing each day with the dogs at my feet —pajamas, tea, the works.” Born in 1981, Sullivan is a very young, but successful writer with an already best-selling book in her hands. Commencement, which was published in 2009, follows the life of four young women who meet at the all-female college Smith–where Sullivan herself majored in Victorian literature– and who undergo a series of changes both as individuals and in their relationships with one and other and with the rest of the world. The New York Times, People Magazine and The Chicago Tribune among others, gave the book great reviews and described Sullivan as a “brave [writer] to characterize the modern female condition as equally bewildering and empowering.” Commencement explores in a profound way what it means to be a woman today, a topic that Sullivan seems to be profoundly passionate about and which she has covered in other of her works, like in the essay anthology The Secret Currency of Love and Click: When We Were Feminists, which she co-edited with Courtney E. Martin. The latter is an anthology about “feminist click moments” as she explains it, where pieces by Jessica Valenti, Curtis Sittenfeld, Rebecca Traister, and Meghan Dau have been put together.

Sullivan’s writing has appeared, among others, in The New York Times Book Review, The Chicago Tribune, New York magazine, Elle, Glamour, Men’s Vogue, and the New York Observer. She is currently working in her second novel, Maine, which tells the story of three generations of women in a large dysfunctional family, during a summer in Maine. Sullivan has also worked at the editorial department of The New York Times and is involved with the organization Girls Write Now.

Here are some cool links with more information about Sullivan:


Andrea P.


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