1 minute read

Jayne Anne Phillips Biography

(1952– ), Black Tickets, Machine Dreams, Fast Lanes, Shelter

American novelist and short-story writer, born in West Virginia, educated at the University of Iowa. Her first collection of stories, Black Tickets (1979), consists largely of monologues, experiments in voice and narrative, and innovative prose pieces; it was praised by Margaret Atwood and Ian McEwan. Her evocation of the mores of small-town America and the vagrant lifestyle of its young has earned her a reputation as one of the Dirty Realists. Her first novel, Machine Dreams (1984), is the story of the Hampson family; in the foreground is the daughter Danner's journey to adulthood during the troubled years of the Vietnam War, to which she loses her beloved brother Billy. Her second collection of stories, Fast Lanes (1987), returns to the wanderers, vagrants, and grim landscapes of her earlier works. Phillips has spoken of her admiration for Eudora Welty, and the story ‘Bess’, set largely in the past, fits into a timeless tradition of rural fictions by American women writers such as Welty, Katherine Anne Porter, and Flannery O'Connor. In Shelter (1995) two young girls encounter evil and despair; dense and multi-layered, it confirms Phillips's reputation as one of the most unusual and gifted American writers of her generation.

Additional topics

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Ellis’ [Edith Mary Pargeter] ‘Peters Biography to Portrait of Dora (Portrait de Dora)