Jeannette Walls

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Jeannette Walls
Jeannette walls 2009.jpg
Walls in 2009
Born (1960-04-21) April 21, 1960 (age 57)
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
Occupation Author, columnist
Genre Non-fiction
Notable works The Glass Castle, Half Broke Horses
Spouse Eric Goldberg (m. 1988–1996)
John J. Taylor (present)

Jeannette Walls (born April 21, 1960) is an American author and journalist widely known as former gossip columnist for and author of The Glass Castle, a memoir of the nomadic family life of her childhood, which stayed on the New York Times Best Seller list for 261 weeks.[1]

Early life and education

Walls was born on April 21, 1960, in Phoenix, Arizona, to Rex Walls and Rose Mary Walls. Walls has two sisters, Lori and Maureen, and one brother, Brian.[2] Walls' family life was rootless, with the family shuttling from Phoenix, Arizona; California (including a brief stay in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco); Battle Mountain, Nevada; and Welch, West Virginia, with periods of homelessness. When they finally landed in Rex's Appalachian hometown, Welch, W.Va., the family lived in a three-room house without plumbing or heat, infested with snakes and rats.

Walls moved to New York at age 17 to join her sister Lori (at that point an artist for Archie Comics). Jeannette finished high school in the city with the aid of grants, loans, scholarships and a year spent answering phones at a Wall Street law firm.


Walls graduated from Barnard College in 1984 with honors.[3]


Early in her career Walls interned at a Brooklyn newspaper called The Phoenix and eventually became a full-time reporter there. From 1987 to 1993 she wrote the "Intelligencer" column for New York magazine.[4] She contributed regularly to the gossip column "Scoop" at from 1998[4] until her departure to write full-time in 2007.[5][6] She has also written for Esquire (1993–1998),[4] and USA Today,[4] and has appeared on The Today Show, CNN, Primetime, and The Colbert Report.

Her 2000 book, Dish: The Inside Story on the World of Gossip, was a humorous history of the role gossip has played in U.S. media, politics and life.[7] In that book, Walls incidentally outed conservative cyber-gossip Matt Drudge as gay.[8]

In 2005, Walls published the best-selling memoir The Glass Castle,[9] which details the joys and struggles of her childhood. It offers a look into her life and that of her dysfunctional family. The Glass Castle was well received by critics and the public.[10] It has sold over 2.7 million copies and has been translated into 22 languages. It received the Christopher Award, the American Library Association's Alex Award (2006), and the Books for Better Living Award.[11] Paramount bought the film rights to the book,[12] and in March 2013 announced that actress Jennifer Lawrence would play Walls in the movie adaptation. On October 9, 2015, it was reported that Lawrence withdrew from the film and she would be replaced by actress Brie Larson.

In 2009, Walls published her first novel, Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel, based on the life of her grandmother Lily Casey Smith.

Walls' latest novel, The Silver Star, was published in 2013.


  • The Glass Castle. New York: Scribner. March 2005. ISBN 0-7432-4753-1. 
  • Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel. New York: Scribner. October 2009. ISBN 1-4165-8628-8. 
  • Dish: The Inside Story on the World of Gossip. New York: Avon Books, Inc. March 2000. ISBN 0-380-97821-0. 
  • The Silver Star. Scribner, 2013.

Personal life

Walls married Eric Goldberg in 1988; they divorced in 1996. She now lives outside Culpeper, Virginia, with her second husband, journalist John J. Taylor. They live on a 205-acre farm, with her mother, Rose Mary.


  1. ^ "Best Sellers March 18, 2012". The New York Times Best Seller list. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  2. ^ Henry, Diana. "Sister Inspires Space Strip," The Daily Register (Shrewsbury, New Jersey) (May 10, 1982), p. 15.
  3. ^ Witchel, Alex. "How Jeannette Walls Spins Good Stories Out of Bad Memories". The New York Times Magazine. The New York Times. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Jeannette Walls". 
  5. ^ MSNBC (2007-07-26). "Jeannette Walls leaving". MSNBC.COM. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  6. ^ "Jeannette Walls, author, The Glass Castle, gossip columnist,". Gothamist. 2005-05-27. Archived from the original on 2007-03-29. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  7. ^ "Nonfiction Review: Dish:: The Inside Story on the World of Gossip by Jeannette Walls". 2000-02-28. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  8. ^ Signorile, Michelangelo (2003). Queer in America. Univ of Wisconsin Press. p. 408. ISBN 0-299-19374-8. 
  9. ^ Walls, Jeannette (2006). The Glass Castle. New York: Scribner. ISBN 0-7432-4754-X. 
  10. ^ "The Glass Castle Background". GradeSaver. 2011-03-31. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  11. ^ "Porter-Gaud hosts noted author Walls". Post and Courier, FYI, September 20, 2007. 
  12. ^ "Pitt's Plan B inks deal with Paramount". M & C News, Jun 23, 2005. Archived from the original on 2008-12-05. 

External links

  • Publisher's Biography
  • Interview with Leahpeah
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