John Gregory Brown

Biography of John Gregory Brown

John Gregory Brown (July 31, 1960) is an American novelist.

Background and education

Brown was born on July 31, 1960 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He received his B.A. from Tulane University in 1982, and his M.A. from Johns Hopkins University in 1988. He is Director of Creative Writing and the Julia Jackson Nichols Professor of English at Sweet Briar College, Virginia.


Brown's first novel, Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery (1994), received broad critical acclaim. In the New York Times, Margo Jefferson praised the books "seductive rhythmic murmur" In The Los Angeles Times, Charles Solomon noted the writer's "great sensitivity.". Reviewing the book for the Chicago Tribune, Charles Larson called the book a "triumph...much of its magnificence is the result of the author's decision to create imaginative voices other than his own," concluding "John Gregory Brown is both the beneficiary of and a worthy successor to our finest Southern writers." The novel received both the 1994 Lillian Smith Book Award and the United Kingdom's 1996 Steinbeck Award, for the year's best novel by a writer under forty years of age.

The Wrecked, Blessed Body of Shelton Lafleur, Brown's second book, was published in 1996. The Los Angeles Times called the novel "John Gregory Brown's gift of grace to us," and the Dallas Morning News wrote, "John Gregory Brown is a strong new voice in American—not just Southern—fiction, and his work deserves the widest possible audience.

Reviewing Brown's third novel, Audubon's Watch (2002), in the New York Times, novelist Stewart O'Nan praised Brown's "ambition and achievement," concluding, "This is a brazen performance that few authors would have the skill or the courage to risk." The novel received the 2002 Louisiana Endowment for The Humanities Award.

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