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Jane Smiley
Jane Smiley

Jane Smiley

A Thousand Acres

Carmel, CA USA

"You stand a much better chance of being successful at something you really want to do than something you're only doing reluctantly."

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Jane's work combines: Art, Writing, and Being Creative

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Day In The Life


I'm a writer and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "A Thousand Acres."

Skills & Education

Here's the path I took:

  • High School

  • Bachelor's Degree

    English Language and Literature, General

    Vassar College

  • Graduate Degree

    English Language and Literature, General

    University of Iowa

  • Doctorate

    English Language and Literature, General

    University of Iowa

Life & Career Milestones

My path in life has been direct

  • 1.

    Was never scared, never felt pressure to do well financially because she "was an idiot."

  • 2.

    Obtained a double degree in creative writing and medieval English literature from Iowa State University in 1978.

  • 3.

    She was content to live a very simple life so that she could go to graduate school, write her novels.

  • 4.

    Was "going along, writing her novels" and living this simple life until she won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992, found sudden success.

  • 5.

    Believes that you won't be "humiliated" by starting at the bottom if you're at the bottom of a ladder you really want to climb.

  • 6.

    Likens building a career to learning to skateboard; "all those times you fell off, you weren't bothered to be humiliated; you just wanted to do it."

  • 7.

    The people who are scared to fall or embarrassed to fail are "focused on the wrong thing," "aren't going to get anywhere."

  • 8.

    Says all of her friends who gave up their passions later felt "lost," didn't know who they were by the time they turned forty or fifty.