Hailed as "one of America's best-kept literary secrets" by Newsweek magazine, Tom Perrotta is a talented novelist and short story writer whose bitingly satirical works, such as Election and Little Children, lay bare the suburban experience.
Read the interview
Tom Perrotta at Barnes & Noble.
Date of Birth:
August 13, 1961
Place of Birth:
Summit, New Jersey
B.A. in English, Yale University, 1983; M.A. in English/Creative Writing, Syracuse University, 1988
Fellowship, Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, 1988; Named one of the “Literary Lights” of 2000 by the Boston Public Library
|Perrotta's Latest||Published Works|
|The Abstinence Teacher|
Stonewood Heights is the perfect place to raise children, but amid its good schools and healthy real estate market, a small-town culture war is brewing. Perrotta's new novel focuses on two divorced parents who become adversaries in the mess: Ruth Ramsey is the human sexuality teacher at the local high school who believes that “pleasure is good, shame is bad, and knowledge is power.” Her younger daughter’s soccer coach is Tim Mason, a former stoner and rocker whose response to hitting rock bottom was to reach out and be saved. Ruth and Tim instinctively distrust one another, but when a controversy on the playing field forces the two of them to actually talk to each other, an uneasy friendship begins to develop.
Bad Haircut: Stories of the Seventies (1994)|
The Wishbones (1997)
Joe College (2001)
Little Children (2004)
The Abstinence Teacher (2007)
Tom Perrotta chronology
|A Blockbuster on Page and Screen|
Perrotta's brilliant, scathingly funny novel about a high school election gone awry was also the basis for the cult-favorite film starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon. "Darkly comic and winning, Tom Perrotta demonstrates that the experience of growing up is universally awful," the San Francisco Chronicle observed of the novel.
Check out Election on DVD
|Advice for the Aspiring|
|In our exclusive interview, we asked Perrotta to tell us what advice he'd give to aspiring authors. "Keep writing. Don’t be discouraged by rejection. When things don’t go well, it helps to think of yourself as a genius, and the rest of the world as a bunch of idiots," he explains.|
|An Early Inspiration||Favorite Writers and Reads|
|The Great Gatsby|
F. Scott Fitzgerald
"I read The Great Gatsby in high school, and was hypnotized by the beauty of the sentences, and moved by the story of about the irrevocability of lost love," Perrotta told us when we asked him to name the book that's most influenced him. "I still maintain that even if there’s no such thing as a perfect novel, Gatsby’s about as close as we’re going to get."
|This Boy's Life: A Memoir|
We asked Perrotta to tell us about some of his all-time favorite books. He named Tobias Wolff's powerful memoir This Boy's Life, calling it "[t]he best coming-of-age book I know, a contemporary work that deserves to stand alongside Huckleberry Finn." Read our interview to learn more about Perrotta's best-loved books, including: