Jennifer Finney Boylan is a widely praised author and professor.
Edward Albee summed up her oeuvre in 1988: -- "Boylan observes carefully, and with love. [Her] levitating wit is wisely tethered to a humane concern…. I often broke into laughter, and was now and again, struck with wonder."
Jenny's memoir, She's Not There, published by Broadway Books in 2003, was one of the first bestselling works by a transgendered American; until 2001 she published under the name James Boylan. She's Not There, currently in its eighth printing, is popular both as a textbook in high schools and colleges as well as with readers's groups. The paperback edition contains a "readers guide" in addition to the main text, which consists not only of Jenny's insights on "a life in two genders" but also includes an afterword by Pultizer Prize winner Richard Russo, whose friendship with James, and later with Jennifer, provides part of the books narrative.
She's Not There won an award from the Lambda LIterary Foundation in 2004, the year after its initial publication. The book has since been published in many foreign editions, and was an alternate selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. Anna Quindlen called it “a very funny memoir of growing up confused, and a very smart consideration of what it means to be a woman.”
Her 2008 memoir, I'm Looking Through You, is about growing up in a haunted house. While trans issues form part of the exposition of the book, the primary focus of I'm Looking Through You is on what it means to be "haunted," and how we all seek to find peace with our various ghosts, both the supernatural and the all-too-human.
Jenny has been a frequent guest on a number of national television and radio programs, including three visits to the Oprah Winfrey Show. She has also appeared on the Larry King Show, The Today Show and been the subject of a documentary on CBS News’ 48 Hours. She has also appeared on a wide range of local and syndicated television shows, as well as NPR's Marketplace and the Diane Rehm show. In 2007 she played herself on two episodes of ABC's "All My Children." She has spoken widely around the country on gender and imagination, at venues including the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. and the New Jersey State Theatre. She has given plenary and keynote speeches at conferences on diversity and scholarship around the country, and at colleges and universities including Amherst, Wesleyan, Dartmouth, Columbia, Vanderbilt, Duke, Bucknell, Dickinson, Bates, Ohio State, Middlebury, Gettysburg, Georgia State, the University of Puget Sound, and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. She has spoken at law firms, at corporate events, and at bookstores from Seattle to Vermont.
Her nonfiction has appeared on the op/ed pages of the New York Times, in GQ magazine, Allure, and Glamour. She is also an ongoing contributor to Conde Nast Traveler magazine; her most recent work there was on Easter Island, published in the January 2007 issue.
Boylan's first book, a collection of stories entitled Remind Me To Murder You Later, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 1988. Her first novel, The Planets, was published in 1991 by Poseidon Press. (Simon and Schuster). Loosely based upon the classical piece of music by Gustav Holst, The Planets followed the lives of several fictional characters in the real town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, which has been afflicted by an underground coal fire since the early 1960s.
Her second novel, The Constellations follows the lives of several of the characters from The Planets, some of whom flee from angry cows, discover a latex brain, and begin a life of dognapping.
Her 1997 novel, Getting In, published by Warner Books, focused on four high school students who go on quests to get into college. The novel was optioned for film by Renny Harlin and Geena Davis, and Jenny was tapped to write the initial screenplay for New Line Cinema.
Born in 1958 in Valley Forge, Boylan