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Hamilton, Jane (Class of 1979) (1957 July 13 -) | Carleton College Archives

Name: Hamilton, Jane (Class of 1979) (1957 July 13 -)


Historical Note:

Jane Hamilton was born in Oak Park, Illinois in 1957. Both her grandmother and her mother were journalists and fiction writers, and she assumed that if you were a girl you were supposed to become a writer. She graduated from Carleton in 1979 with that aim in mind, although she’d been told by various professors that writing fiction was not usually a viable profession. This was sound advice. She married an apple farmer, Robert Willard, in Rochester, Wisconsin in 1982. Between harvest and planting she wrote her first novel, The Book of Ruth, published in 1988. She has written six novels since, several short stories, and many essays.

Her daughter Hannah graduated from Carleton in 2010. Her son attended Lawrence University, where he had an English class from a Carleton grad who’d studied with the great professors of the 1980s, Carleton doing its work in Wisconsin.

Hamilton’s work has won prizes and two of the novels, The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World, have been made into films. She has taught at Carleton College, in the Warren Wilson MFA program, at Luther College, as well as conducting many workshops nationally and internationally. Although there was not a writing program at Carleton when she matriculated, the two workshops she took, and the professors she studied with, were instrumental in teaching her the craft of writing.

Sources: Jane Hamilton





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