As are her books, Egan is such a fascinating character, and there are lots of surprising facts about her that new readers of her work might not know. For example, the author dated Apple’s Steve Jobs and didn’t have an email address until recently. But those are just the tips of the iceberg. In this article, we have analyzed 10 fascinating facts about iconic writer Jennifer Egan, author of ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad.’
Egan’s parents separated when she was 2
The separation or outright divorce of parents who have children almost always has a negative impact on these young ones, whether they are adults who have come of age, or a two-year-old like Egan was at the time of her parents’ divorce.
Donald, a devout faith person, and corporate attorney, welcomed baby Egan with his wife Kay in 1962, only to be separated two years later with the couple unable to understand and accommodate each other’s differences.
Egan recounted that her father was more of the old-fashioned kind of marriage where the wife typically was the stay-at-home type who made dinners and tended the home. Kay, a beautiful and educated young woman, could never agree to this, and this was perhaps the biggest conflict leading to the couple’s separation.
Her father suffered from severe alcoholism
Maybe elevated by a troubled marriage or perhaps it was always there from the onset, Egan’s father, Donald, from acute alcoholism, and the author recalled she became more aware of his suffering from it shortly after the splitting.
It might be noteworthy that outdoor beer drinking was a popular culture of the 1960s and 70’s men, and Egan’s father was a huge part of that culture – as he would normally indulge himself in the presence of male friends after work hours. This could be the genesis of his alcoholism.
The Bay Area influenced her work
Egan was born in Chicago and spent her next six or seven years there before moving to San Francisco with her mother and stepfather, whose hoteling business in the Bay Area obviously influenced the move.
Egan then spent much of her childhood in San Francisco and got immersed in the punk music culture of the place, an experience which she would eventually draw from in crafting her fourth book and Pulitzer winner ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad.’
Egan’s first love was Archeology, not writing
It may come as a shock to many of her beloved readers, especially given the quality of writing talent seen in several of Egan’s fiction and nonfiction works, but the reality is, from the very beginning, Jennifer Egan wanted to become an archeologist and not a writer.
Now it’s normal for people to drift from one aspiration to the other as they mature and grow older, but with literary icons and geniuses, the norm was they’d started off early on such a path, mature and grew into it, and then become acclaimed. With Egan, her second choice also wasn’t writing but a fashion model. She only ever settled for a pen after failing at the first two dreams.
She dated Steve Jobs while in college
Not much is recorded about Egan’s relationship timeline with the tech big dog, Steve Jobs, but there is enough evidence to tell that the couple really did hit it off from 1983 to 84 – one whole year – with Jobs even coming down to her hostel bedroom to install a Mac personal computer. Jobs biographer, Walter Isaacson, recounted the place of their first meeting was in Silicon Valley, at a dinner party.
Egan was already an acclaimed journalist before her first book
The author published her first book in 1994 but before that, she had had a fair reputation to her name based on her previous journalistic exploits. Finding her place in the middle of the fourth estate wasn’t exactly easy either for the author, as she faced several turndowns from story leads who wouldn’t offer her interviews because she showed up looking more like a skinny model than a serious reporter.
But when she got her break, that was it. She fired on and won several personal awards for her impactful articles, which were published by top magazines like the New York Times.
She writes five or six pages a day as a habit
Egan follows a very strict professional routine, which is unsurprising because one would expect a writer of Egan’s caliber to be on a certain high-level disciplinary standard to be able to stay consistent for years and churn out quality end products.
Egan revealed, in one of her interviews with a popular American magazine, that she typically follows a daily ritual of writing around five or six pages, with her favorite time of day being in the mornings, when ideas are overflowing, fresh, and unpredictable.
She combines rigorous research with imagination in her work
The journalism way runs deep inside Egan’s blood: so whether she decides she is writing nonfiction or fiction, she typically follows the same strategy; that is, she combines rigorous research with her spellbinding imagination to create her books. Egan did this with her debut novel of 1994; almost thirty years later, she’s still doing it with her latest books (as seen in 2022’s ‘The Candy House’ and the likes).
Her work has won several prestigious awards including Pulitzer Prize
To have written as few as seven books (not counting her journalistic exploits), and to have received as many literary awards is something only Egan can manage. Nearly all of the author’s books have won multiple book awards for their category. The most prestigious she has pocketed is the Pulitzer Prize courtesy of the ever convoluted, evergreen ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad.’ Other top accolades won by the author for her books’ exploits are; National Bestseller (for ‘The Keep’), Andrew Carnegie Medal (for ‘Manhattan Beach’), and a finalist for National Book Award (for ‘Look at Me’).
She is married to David Herskovits with two kids
Egan first met her husband David Herskovits in college while she was enrolled for an English degree. The pair hit it off immediately and dated for several years before eventually getting married. David who’s a director with classic theaters is as much a workaholic as his wife, but they consolidate weekends for quality family time. Their marriage has produced two sons, and the family lives in their Clinton Hill home.
Is Jennifer Egan married?
Egan is married to theater director David Herskovits, and the couple have two sons and live in Clinton Hill.
What is the connection between Jennifer Egan and Steve Jobs?
While on her college break, Egan was out on a dinner date one day and met with Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, who found her very attractive. Both would go on and date for a while, and Jobs would even visit her hostel room to install a Mac computer for her.
Is Egan a Christian?
Though born into the catholic faith and married to David Herskovits, a Jewish, Egan likes to identify as agnostic, but this doesn’t stop her from training her boys in the faith.
How long did it take Egan to write ‘Goon Squad’?
Egan’s last work before ‘Goon Squad’ was her 2006 thriller novel ‘The Keep,’ so technically, it took the author four years to create and publish ‘Goon Squad’ which came later in 2010.