She is best known as the author of the 1998 book The Orchid Thief
, which was adapted into the film Adaptation
(2002). Meryl Streep
received an Academy Award
nomination for her performance as Orlean.
Orlean was raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio
the daughter of Edith (née Gross 1923–2016)
and Arthur Orlean (1915–2007). She has a sister, Debra, and a brother, David. Her family is Jewish. Her mother's family is from Hungary
and her father's family from Poland
. Her father was an attorney and businessman.
She graduated from the University of Michigan
with honors in 1976,
studying literature and history. After college she moved to Portland, Oregon
, and was planning on going to law school, when she began writing for the Willamette Week
She married lawyer Peter Sistrom in 1983, and they divorced after 16 years of marriage. She was introduced by a friend to author and businessman John Gillespie, whom she married in 2001, and she gave birth to their son Austin in 2004.
She is also step-mother to John's son from his previous marriage, Jay Gillespie.
She later went on to publish stories in Rolling Stone
. In 1982, she moved to Boston
and became a staff writer for the Boston Phoenix
and later a regular contributor to the Boston Globe
Her first book, Saturday Night
, was published in 1990, shortly after she moved to New York and began writing for The New Yorker
magazine. She started contributing to The New Yorker
in 1987 and became a staff writer in 1992.
She also wrote the Women's Outside
article "Life's Swell", published in 1998. That article, a feature on a group of young surfer
girls in Maui
, was the basis of the film Blue Crush
In 1999, she co-wrote The Skinny: What Every Skinny Woman Knows About Dieting (And Won't Tell You!)
under her married name, Susan Sistrom. Her previously published magazine stories have been compiled in two collections, The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup: My Encounters with Extraordinary People
and My Kind of Place: Travel Stories from a Woman Who's Been Everywhere
. She also served as editor for Best American Essays 2005
and Best American Travel Writing 2007
. She contributed the Ohio chapter in State By State
(2008), and in 2011 she published a biographical history of the dog actor Rin Tin Tin
titled Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend
When her son Austin had an assignment to interview a city employee, he chose a librarian and together they visited the Studio City branch of the Los Angeles Public Library
system which reignited her own childhood passion for libraries.
After an immersive project involving three years of research and two years of writing on the 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Central Library, The Library Book
was released in October 2018.
The book uses the context of the April 1986 fire to explore the role of the public library, who uses them, and the void created if they are lost.
Orlean hired a fact-checker to ensure the book was accurate, explaining "I don't want a substantial error that changes the meaning of my book, but I also don't want silly errors".
She collaborated on the adaption for television.
Awards and honors
Essays and reporting
- ^ Orlean, Susan (October 5, 2018). "Growing Up in the Library: Learning and relearning what it means to have a book on borrowed time". The New Yorker. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
- ^ Edith Orlean Obituary accessed October 30, 2016
- ^ Susan Orlean's parents marriage certificate retrieved March 20, 2015
- ^  Arthur Orlean obituary
- ^ a b c d "Six to receive honorary degrees at U-M spring commencement ceremonies". University of Michigan News. March 15, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
- ^ USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
- ^ a b c d Haldeman, Peter (April 12, 2019). "Havens: Susan Orlean and R.M. Schindler, a love story in two chapters". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
- ^ Shattuck, Kathryn. "WEDDINGS: VOW; Susan Orlean, John Gillespie Jr". Retrieved July 23, 2018.
- ^ a b c "Susan Orlean". The New Yorker. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
- ^ a b "The Library Book by Susan Orlean – what LA lost when its library burned down". the Guardian. February 16, 2019. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
- ^ Lewis, Michael. "The Library Fire That Ignited an Author’s Imagination", The New York Times, 15 October 2018. Retrieved on 3 January 2020.
- ^ Kellogg, Carolyn (October 11, 2018). "Who started the 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Library? Susan Orlean investigates in her new book". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
- ^ Alter, Alexandra (September 22, 2019). "It's a Fact: Mistakes Are Embarrassing the Publishing Industry". The New York Times. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
- ^ Schaub, Michael (April 2, 2019). "Susan Orlean's book about 1986 L.A. library fire headed to television". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
- ^ "A Conversation with Susan Orlean". Nieman Foundation. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
- ^ Guggenheim Fellows announced accessed March 20, 2015
- ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Susan Orlean". Retrieved April 22, 2021.
- ^ "Author in Social Media - Shorty Awards". shortyawards.com. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
- ^ Brendan O'Connell.
- ^ Online version is titled "The surreal comedy of internet art".
Last edited on 22 April 2021, at 09:29
Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0
unless otherwise noted.