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Pulitzer Prize-winning Novelist


Andrew Sean Greer is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of seven works of fiction, including the bestsellers The Confessions of Max Tivoli and Less. Greer has taught at a number of universities, including the Iowa Writers Workshop, been a Today show pick, a New York Public Library Cullman Center Fellow, a judge for the National Book Award, and a winner of the California Book Award and the New York Public Library Young Lions Award. He is the recipient of a NEA grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Andrew Sean Greer grew up, an identical twin, in the suburbs of Washington, DC, the son of scientists. He studied writing at Brown University, where he was the commencement speaker at his own graduation. After years in New York working as a chauffeur, television extra and unsuccessful writer, he moved to Missoula, Montana, where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Montana. He soon moved to Seattle, where he wrote for Nintendo and taught community college, then to San Francisco where he began to publish in magazines such as EsquireParis Review, and New Yorker before releasing a collection of his stories, How It Was for Me. The New York Times Book Review praised it, commenting that "Greer's descriptive talents are immense.”

One year later Greer achieved acclaim for his first novel, The Path of Minor Planets. The San Francisco Chronicle listed the book as one of the five most important literary events of the year. It is the story of a group of astronomers who from 1965 to 1989 met every six years to observe a comet discovered by one of them. 

But it was his second novel, The Confessions of Max Tivolithat drew national attention when it was published in 2004. In The New Yorker, John Updike wrote of the novel as "enchanting, in the perfumed, dandified style of disenchantment brought to grandeur by Proust and Nabokov." Time has dealt the protagonist a bad card: he is born into the world in the body of a seventy-year-old man, who becomes ever younger. It was a Today show book club pick and won two prestigious awards: the California Book Award and the New York Public Library Young Lions Award for an author under 35. 

Greer's fourth book, The Story of a Marriagepublished in 2008is a more intimate novel, set in just a few months of 1952.  It is about a San Francisco housewife who opens her door one day to a stranger who makes an incredible offer, one than upends her world and reveals secrets and lies going back decades. The New York Times said of it: "Mr. Greer seamlessly choreographs an intricate narrative that speaks authentically to the longings and desires of his characters."  The Washington Post chose it as a book of the year, and called it "thoughtful, complex and exquisitely written." 

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, Greer's fifth book and fourth novel, further develops the themes of love and time by presenting his main character with three versions of her life. Each morning, she awakens to the same room, the same city, the same aunt and brother and lover. The only change: the year in which they all are living: 1918, 1941 and 1985. It was published in June 2013.  

His sixth book, entitled Less, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction being praised as "A generous book, musical in its prose and expansive in its structure and range, about growing older and the essential nature of love."  Published by Lee Boudreaux books in July 2017, it is the comedy of a man fleeing the humiliations of love, middle-age, and failure by accepting invitations that lead to a trip around the world and back, at last, to face his final demon: himself. It won the Northern California Book Award for Fiction, was one of the Washington Post's 10 best books of 2017, and it made best book lists as well in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Post, and Paris Review. 

His seventh book, a follow up to Less, is the bestselling Less is Lost (Little Brown, September 20, 2022). The Star Tribune called it "wildly entertaining," and NPR said "Less is Lost, is as funny and poignant as its predecessor."

In addition to his novels his other writings include being guest editor of   The Best American Short Stories 2022 and his most recent project, a kindle essay and audiobook titled My Mother and Other Wild Animals about a raucous and loving road trip he took with his mother.

From 2016 - 2018, Greer was the first Executive Director of the Santa Maddalena Foundation, working alongside President Beatrice Monti della Corte to invite writers from around the world for six weeks of tranquility in the Tuscan countryside in which to pursue their craft.  Writers such as Zadie SmithMichael CunninghamColm Tóibín, Maylis de Kerangal, Dany Laferriere, Juan Gabriel Vasquez and numerous others have found the Foundation an ideal place for their work. Greer left the Foundation to focus on his writing, but keeps a strong connection to its mission.

Greer lives in San Francisco and Milan.


Andrew Sean Greer's website

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