Mona Simpson: Biography

Mona Simpson

14 jun 1957

Mona Simpson began life as Mona Jandali when she was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on June 14, 1957. Her father was from Syria and when her mother later re-married, Mona took the name of her step-father, thereby, becoming Mona Simpson. Her family moved to California when she was a teenager and there she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at UCLA (Berkley) and later went on to Columbia to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in writing.

From very early in her life she was involved in writing of one kind or the other. She wrote poetry, newspaper articles and short stories as well as worked as an editor for Paris Review, a literary journal.

Her first novel, Anywhere But Here appeared in 1986 and quickly won critical acclaim and for which she won the Whiting Award. The book was later made into a movie of the same name. She has subsequently written five other novels which tend to centre around dysfunctional family relationships which many believe are based somewhat on her own life experiences. Critics regard her writings as compelling, incisive, insightful, in some cases, funny.

For her work, she has won many literary honours and awards. These include fellowships from Guggenheim, Hodder and Lila Wallace Readers Digest and the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Mona Simpson is presently a Professor of Humanities at UCLA at Bard College at the University of California, Los Angeles. She was formerly married to Richard Appel, one of the writers of the very popular Simpsons show, and she had the honour of having one of the characters of the show being named after her. She has two children for Appel. A recently discovered fact about her was that late Steve Jobs, the famous co-founder of Apple, was also her brother. He was given up for adoption and she never met him until many years later.