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Jami Attenberg (born 1971 in Arlington Heights, Illinois[1]) is an American fiction writer and essayist. She is the author of a short story collection and five novels, including best-seller The Middlesteins.

Jami Attenberg
Headshot of Attenberg smiling at the camera. She wears curly hair shoulder-length with bangs and a floral-print top.
Attenberg at the 2017 Texas Book Festival
Alma materJohns Hopkins University
Notable work
The Middlesteins
Saint Mazie
All Grown Up
Home townBuffalo Grove, Illinois

Early lifeEdit

Attenberg grew up in Buffalo Grove, Illinois,[2] and graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Writing.[3]


Attenberg worked at HBO before deciding to devote herself to fiction writing, initially supported by temp jobs.[4] Attenberg has also worked at WORD bookstore in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a job she took after giving several readings at the store.[5]


In 2006, Attenberg published a collection of short stories with Random/Shaye Areheart under the title Instant Love.[6] Two novels followed: The Kept Man (Riverhead, 2008)[7][8] and The Melting Season (2010).[9][10]

Following a change in publisher and accompanying marketing strategy (with subsequent works promoted not as women's fiction but instead as literary fiction, including blurb from Jonathan Franzen on her third book),[4] Attenberg experienced a literary breakthrough in 2012 with her third novel The Middlesteins,[11][12][13][14][15] which became a New York Times bestseller[16] and was listed among the ten best-selling books on Amazon in 2012.[17] The Middlesteins was translated into multiple languages and Attenberg was nominated for multiple literature awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize[18] and the St. Francis College Literary Prize.[19]

In 2015, Attenberg published her fifth book, Saint Mazie (Hachette).[20][21][22][23][24][25] Buzzfeed listed Saint Mazie as one of the 27 "Most Exciting Books of 2015."[26]

Attenberg's next novel, All Grown Up, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the US in March 2017,[27][28][29][30][31][32] and in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Holland in 2017–2018.

In October 2019, she published All This Could Be Yours.[33]


Attenberg's essays have been published in The New York Times,[34] The Wall Street Journal,[35] Vogue,[36] Elle[37] and Lenny Letter.[38]

Personal lifeEdit

Attenberg splits her time between Brooklyn, NY, and New Orleans, LA.[39]


  1. ^ Illinois Authors: Jami Attenberg
  2. ^ Chicago Reader: In The Middlesteins, Jami Attenberg shows you can go home again, by Aimee Levitt on June 7, 2013. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  3. ^ LitLovers
  4. ^ a b Freeman, Hadley (2017-03-24). "Jami Attenberg: 'I wanted to see if there were other happy endings for single women'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  5. ^ Sullivan, J. Courtney (2011-05-06). "Selling Books by Day, Writing Them by Night". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  6. ^ "Fiction Book Review: Instant Love by Jami Attenberg, Author . Random/Shaye Areheart $21 (267p) ISBN 978-0-307-33782-5". Publishers Weekly. April 3, 2006. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  7. ^ North, Anna (December 19, 2007). "Review: Wife cheered by househusbands in Attenberg's 'Kept Man'". SFGate. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  8. ^ "THE KEPT MAN by Jami Attenberg". Kirkus Reviews. December 1, 2007. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
  9. ^ BookForum
  10. ^ Oulton, Emma (February 14, 2017). "Show Yourself Some Love With These 14 Books". Bustle. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  11. ^ Orringer, Julie (2012-12-27). "'The Middlesteins,' by Jami Attenberg". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  12. ^ Corrigan, Maureen (November 20, 2012). "Hungry Hearts And Family Matters In 'Middlesteins'". Fresh Air. NPR. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  13. ^ Beresford, Lucy (2013-03-14). "The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg: review". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  14. ^ Kirsch, Adam (October 31, 2012). "A Middlemarch for Middle America". New Republic. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  15. ^ Hahn, Daniel (2013-02-10). "Review: The Middlesteins, By Jami Attenberg". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  16. ^ Press section of author's website.
  17. ^ "Best Books of Year: Top 100 Picks for 2012". Amazon. 2012-11-28. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  18. ^ L.A. Times Archived 2015-08-02 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "SFC Announces Short List for $50,000 Literary Prize". August 15, 2013. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  20. ^ Ingall, Marjorie (2015-06-09). "'Saint Mazie,' by Jami Attenberg". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  21. ^ Johncock, Benjamin (2015-07-01). "Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg review – a love letter to Jazz Age New York". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  22. ^ Gentry, Amy. "Review: 'Saint Mazie' by Jami Attenberg". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  23. ^ Cheuse, Alan (June 11, 2016). "'Mazie' Pays Homage To A Real-Life Saint Of The Streets". NPR. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  24. ^ Solomon, Anna (June 6, 2015). "Book review: Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  25. ^ Scholes, Lucy (2015-06-18). "Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg, book review: A big-hearted story of old". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  26. ^ Lee, Jarry (January 8, 2015). "27 Of The Most Exciting New Books Of 2015". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  27. ^ Felsenthal, Julia (March 7, 2017). "Jami Attenberg on All Grown Up and Why Adulting Is Overrated". Vogue. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  28. ^ Jacobs, Emma (April 13, 2017). "All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg — loveless, actually". Financial Times. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  29. ^ Schulman, Helen (2017-03-09). "A Heroine Who Does Adulthood on Her Own Terms". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  30. ^ Quinn, Annalisa (March 8, 2017). "'All Grown Up' Is The Picture Of Someone Who Isn't (And A Voice That's Nothing New)". NPR. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  31. ^ Guest, Katy (2017-04-01). "All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg review – difficult, selfish, a true-to-life heroine". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  32. ^ Maran, Meredith (2017-03-02). "'All Grown Up,' by Jami Attenberg, is an X-ray of Gen X life". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  33. ^ Attenberg, Jami. "All This Could Be Yours". Goodreads. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  34. ^ New York Times article search
  35. ^ Wall Street Journal: Novelist Jami Attenberg on Why Whiskey Is for Sharing
  36. ^ Vogue Contributor Page: Jami Attenberg
  37. ^ Elle Author Page: Jami Attenberg
  38. ^ Lenny Letter Author Page: Jami Attenberg
  39. ^ Pictorial: An Interview With Jami Attenberg, Author of Saint Mazie.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit