Mona Simpson

Writer in Residence Mona Simpson is a former senior editor at the Paris Review and the author of five novels.
She was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, then moved to Los Angeles as a young teenager. Her father was a recent immigrant from Syria and her mother was the daughter of a mink farmer and the first person in her family to attend college. Simpson went to Berkeley, where she studied poetry. She worked as a journalist before moving to New York to attend Columbia's M.F.A. program. During graduate school, she published her first short stories in Ploughshares, the Iowa Review, and Mademoiselle. She stayed in New York and worked as an editor at the Paris Review for five years while finishing her first novel, Anywhere But Here (1986). After that, she wrote The Lost Father (1992), A Regular Guy (1997), and Off Keck Road (2000). Simpson has been awarded a Whiting Prize (1986), a Guggenheim (1988), a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University (1987), a Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Prize (1995), and a Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize (2001). She is a Pen Faulkner finalist (2001) and most recently received a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2008). She worked 10 years on My Hollywood (2010). "It’s the book that took me too long because it meant so much to me," she says. Mona lives in Santa Monica with her two children and Bartleby the dog.

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Photo by Karl Rabe