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Jodi Picoult was born and raised in Nesconset on Long Island; her family moved to New Hampshire when she was 13 years old. She has described her family as "non-practicing Jewish". Picoult wrote her first story at age 5, entitled "The Lobster Which Misunderstood".
She studied writing at Princeton University, and graduated in 1987. She published two short stories in Seventeen magazine while still in college. Immediately after graduation, she began a variety of jobs, ranging from editing textbooks to teaching eighth-grade English. She earned a master's degree in education from Harvard University.
Picoult became the writer of DC Comics' Wonder Woman (vol. 3) series following the departure of fellow writer Allan Heinberg. Nineteen Minutes, Picoult's novel about the aftermath of a school shooting in a small town, has become her first book to debut at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list. Her book Change Of Heart was published on March 4, 2008, and became Picoult's second novel to debut at #1 on the NYT Best Seller list.
She is married to Timothy Warren Van Leer, whom she met while in college. They and their three children, Sammy, Kyle, and Jake, and a handful of pets, live in Hanover, New Hampshire.
“I was born in NY, in suburbia on Long Island. The houses all looked the same and were called the Storybook development. Self-fulfilling prophecy, perhaps? I went to public school and had some great English teachers who encouraged me to write – and to apply to Princeton University, which had one of the best undergraduate creative writing programs in the US. I got accepted and worked there with Mary Morris, primarily (an amazing writer!). I truly believe if not for Mary, I wouldn’t be a writer today.” Jodi Picoult