Jodi Picoult is one of America's most prolific authors. Since 1992, she has published dozens of novels and short story collections—which have since been translated into more than 30 languages. Picoult writes popular fiction that can be characterized as family saga. While each novel is unique, she frequently centers storylines around a moral dilemma or a procedural drama which pits family members against one another. At least eight of Picoult's books have debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and five of her novels have been adapted into movies.
Along the way, Picoult caught the eye of DC Comics, which hired her to write some plotlines for its Wonder Woman series. Among her many awards, Picoult has received a lifetime achievement award for mainstream fiction from the Romance Writers of America, was named Waterstone’s Author of the Year in the U.K., and is the 2013-14 recipient of the New Hampshire Literary Award for Outstanding Literary Merit. Previously, Picoult earned a Master of Arts degree in education from Harvard University. She also balances her time as an active member in philanthropy and social justice work.
Picoult credits her days at Princeton University as being the time when she cut her teeth as a writer. At Princeton, Picoult found a mentor in the travel and fiction writer Mary Morris, with whom she took several creative writing classes.
"She basically ripped me to shreds and showed me I wasn’t as good as I thought I was," said Picoult. "But she also believed in me in a way that made me fight back and realize I could be better. I think the most important thing that she taught me was... a novel is really just a bunch of connected short stories."
Before graduating, two of Picoult's stories (which had started as class assignments) were bought by Seventeen magazine. In 1987, after completing a 320-page thesis titled "Developments," Picoult graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Princeton. As a published author already, she was well on her way to literary stardom.
Over time, Picoult has never shown any indication that she wants to close the book on her relationship with her alma mater. In 2015, the best-selling author showed up in the Princeton Alumni Weekly, after participating in a barrage of questions that included, "Where do you find inspiration for your writing?" Even better, Picoult was invited to deliver the 2016 Class Day Address by Princeton. Her speech began with an eloquent retracing of her experiences on campus as a former student. Then she weaved some of her real-life experiences into her words of wisdom, where she encouraged the graduates to embrace the obstacles of their future. More recently, her alma mater honored Picoult's many contributions by ranking her in the "top ten" of Princeton's most influential living alumni, an elite group of people who continue to shape the industries they serve.