“Picoult has become a master—almost a clairvoyant—at targeting hot issues and writing highly readable page-turners about them.”
—The Washington Post
With a fluid and wide-ranging style, bestselling novelist Jodi Picoult has been compared to writers as diverse as Alice Hoffman, John Grisham, and Daphne du Maurier. In some two dozen novels, she examines important social issues that are as thought-provoking as they are divisive. Her fiction nods to many genres, including literary fiction, legal thrillers, psychological portraits, romances, and ghost stories, giving her readers a fresh experience with each book. Picoult has an estimated 40 million books in print. The past thirteen of her novels have debuted at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list, and five of her books have been made into movies.
Picoult’s first novel, Songs of the Humpback Whale, weaves five narrative voices into a story of love, loss, and self-discovery, which Publishers Weekly called a “powerful and affecting novel that demonstrates there are as many truths to a story as there are people to tell it.” Her critically acclaimed third book, Picture Perfect, is the story of an anthropologist trapped in a cycle of domestic abuse with her glamorous movie star husband. Library Journal praised the novel as “an important book from a talented writer we hope to hear from again and again.” In My Sister’s Keeper, Picoult tells the story of a thirteen-year-old, Anna, who was conceived by her parents specifically as a bone-marrow donor for her sister Kate, who has leukemia. The novel focuses on Anna’s search for identity in a life that was predetermined by her genetic ability to help her sister. Kirkus declared that Picoult “vividly evokes the physical and psychic toll a desperately sick child imposes on a family, even a close and loving one.” Her novel Nineteen Minutes was the winner of the NH Library Association’s Flume Award and winner of the Iowa HS Book Award. Entertainment Weekly called it “vintage Picoult, expertly crafted, thought-provoking, and compelling” and gave it an A grade.
In her recent novels, Picoult has taken on some of the most consequential social issues of our day. Small Great Things, “one of the hardest” books yet for her to write, explores racism in America through the lens of a tragic incident at a Connecticut hospital. The Washington Post praised the novel as “the most important novel Jodi Picoult has ever written.” A film adaptation from Amblin Entertainment is in the works, with Viola Davis and Julia Roberts attached as stars. Another instant New York Times #1 bestseller, A Spark of Light is a powerful and provocative novel about reproductive rights set during a hostage situation at a women’s health clinic. The Star-Tribune called it “a courageous and important work” and The Washington Post praised it as “Picoult at her fearless best… Timely, balanced, and certain to inspired debate.” A Spark of Light will be adapted into a limited television series by Sony Pictures TV starring Joey King.
Wish You Were Here is a “powerfully evocative story of resilience and the triumph of the human spirit” (Taylor Jenkins-Reid, author of Malibu Rising) that follows a young woman stranded in the Galapagos in the early days of the COVID pandemic. Named a most anticipated book by outlets such as CNN and Good Morning America, Wish You Were Here is “a satisfying and thought-provoking narrative of a woman whose entire ecosystem has shifted” (The Star Tribune). The book debuted at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list and a Netflix film adaptation is in the works.
Picoult previously explored the impact of the COVID virus in her original musical Breathe, which made its virtual debut in spring 2021. Written with co-librettist Tim McDonald as the pandemic unfolded and starring Kelli O’Hara and Brian Stokes-Mitchell, Breathe follows five couples grappling with how their lives, families, relationships, society, and health have changed in the wake of the pandemic. Picoult’s first YA novel, co-written with her daughter Samantha van Leer, Between the Lines, was adapted into an Off-Broadway musical. She also wrote the musical adaptation of Markus Zusak’s novel The Book Thief, which opened at the UK’s Octagon Theatre in September 2022.
Her latest novel is New York Times Best Seller Mad Honey, co-authored with Jennifer Finney Boylan. A Good Morning America Book Club pick for October 2022, Mad Honey is a riveting novel of suspense, an unforgettable love story, and a moving and powerful exploration of the secrets we keep and the risks we take in order to become ourselves. The novel has been optioned by Canada’s Thunderbird Entertainment, who are planning to adapt the story into a premium TV series.
In 2003, Picoult was awarded the New England Bookseller Award for Fiction. She has also received an Alex Award from the Young Adult Library Services Association, the BookBrowse Diamond Award for novel of the year, a lifetime achievement award for mainstream fiction from the Romance Writers of America, Cosmopolitan’s Fun Fearless Fiction Award, Waterstone’s Author of the Year in the UK, a Vermont Green Mountain Book Award, a NH Granite State Book Award, a Virginia Reader’s Choice Award, the Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award, and a Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award. Picoult was the 2013-14 recipient of the New Hampshire Literary Award for Outstanding Literary Merit and the 2019 Sarah Josepha Hale Award. She received an honorary Doctor of Letters from Dartmouth College in 2010 and another from the University of New Haven in 2012.
She and her husband Tim live in Hanover, New Hampshire with a Springer spaniel, two rescue puppies, two donkeys, ten chickens, and the occasional Holstein.