Walls in 2009
|Born||April 21, 1960|
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
|Notable works||The Glass Castle, Half Broke Horses|
(m. 1988; div. 1996)
John J. Taylor
Jeannette Walls (born April 21, 1960) is an American author and journalist widely known as former gossip columnist for MSNBC.com and author of The Glass Castle, a memoir of the nomadic family life of her childhood. Published in 2005, it had been on the New York Times Best Seller list for 421 weeks as of June 3, 2018. She is a 2006 recipient of the Alex Awards and Christopher Award.
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. Walls' family life was rootless, with the family shuttling from Phoenix to California (including a brief stay in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco), to Battle Mountain, Nevada, and to Welch, West Virginia, with periods of homelessness. When they finally landed in Rex's Appalachian hometown of Welch 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.
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. She then wrote a gossip column for Esquire, from 1993 to 1998, then contributed regularly to the gossip column "Scoop" at MSNBC.com from 1998 until her departure to write full-time in 2007. Walls has contributed to USA Today, 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.
In 2005, Walls published the best-selling memoir The Glass Castle, 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. 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.Paramount bought the film rights to the book, 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. It was named one of the ten best books of 2009 by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.
Walls' latest novel, The Silver Star, was published in 2013.