A.M. Homes is that rare writer whose work successfully elides the distinction between high art and pop culture. In incendiary and brilliantly crafted fiction, Homes shocks and sometimes disgusts, but never fails to entertain as she tears down the façade of suburban normality to reveal the darkness within.
In her impressionistic art criticism, Homes has brought levity and creativity to a hidebound genre. Her inspiring lectures on creativity have spurred other writers and artists to abandon fear and mediocrity and take real risks in their work. Iconoclastic, daring, fiercely real—A.M. Homes is one of the most provocative literary voices today.
From her first novel, Jack, written when she was 19, about a boy coming to terms with his father’s homosexuality, A.M. Homes has shown herself to be utterly fearless in tackling subjects that range from controversial to stomach-turning. The End of Alice elicited praise for its unflinching portrayal of an imprisoned pedophile.
“[Homes is] one of the bravest, most terrifying writers working today. She never plays it safe, and it begins to look as if she can do almost anything.”
Whether in the new-age luxury of contemporary Los Angeles in This Book Will Save Your Life, the white-picket fence uniformity of suburban New York in Music for Torching, or the overstuffed therapist’s chair in In A Country of Mothers, Homes’s novels offer an incisive look at who we are behind closed doors. When it comes to this kind of scrutiny, Homes does not spare herself.
Her memoir, The Mistress’s Daughter, was ten years in the making. It delves not just into her own experiences as an adopted child who meets her birth parents for the first time at the age of thirty, but into the overwhelmingly complex issues of identity, genetics and heritage that face every adoptee.
“[It is] as remarkable for its crystalline prose, flinty wit, and agile candor as for its arresting revelations…Homes masterfully distills angst and discovery into a riveting tale of nature and nurture that encompasses America’s great patchwork of immigrants and secrets.”
Always concerned with the complications that lie right below a manicured surface, Homes returns to the suburbs for her latest novel, May We Be Forgiven. It is an unnerving, funny tale of unexpected intimacies and of how one deeply fractured family might begin to put itself back together. The novel is the winner of the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction (previously the Orange Prize), one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world.
“I can’t remember when I last read a novel of such narrative intensity; an unflinching account of a catastrophic, violent, black-comic, transformative year in the history of one broken American family. A brilliant book.”
Homes is also the author of two collections of short stories. Her writings appear frequently in ArtForum, Harpers, Granta, McSweeney’s, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Elle and Zoetrope. She is a Contributing Editor to Vanity Fair, Bomb and Blind Spot. In addition, she has worked as a collaborator with artists such as Eric Fischl, Rachel Whiteread, Carroll Dunham, Catherine Opie, Bill Owens, Ghada Amer and Ken Probst.
Homes wrote the screen adaptation of her novel, Jack, for Showtime, and has worked as a writer/producer on the hit television show The L Word. For the last few years she has been developing television pilots for HBO and CBS and is currently writing for Wire In the Blood, a drama series on ABC.
A.M. Homes’s work has been translated into twenty-two languages, and she has received awards and fellowships from numerous institutions, including the NEA, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis. She has taught workshops in fiction, life writing and creativity at Princeton, Columbia University, NYU and The New School. Born in Washington, D.C., she lives in New York City.