HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Jennifer Haigh

Award-Winning Novelist


  • The Writing Process
  • Fracking and Its Effects on Communities
  • An Evening with Jennifer Haigh


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Jennifer Haigh is the acclaimed author of the short story collection News From Heaven and of novels Faith, The Condition, Baker Towers, and Mrs. Kimble. Haigh’s most recent novel Heat and Light was published in May 2016.

In Heat and Light (Ecco), Haigh returns to the Pennsylvania town at the center of her iconic novel Baker Towers in this ambitious, achingly human story of modern America and the conflicting forces at its heart—a bold, moving drama of hope and desperation, greed and power, big business and small-town families. Told through a cast of characters whose lives are increasingly bound by the opposing interests that underpin the national debate, Heat and Light depicts a community blessed and cursed by its natural resources. Soaring and ambitious, it zooms from drill rig to shareholders’ meeting to the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor to the ruined landscape of the “strippins,” haunting reminders of Pennsylvania’s past energy booms. This is a dispatch from a forgotten America—a work of searing moral clarity from one of the finest writers of her generation, a courageous and necessary book.

Haigh’s short stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Granta, The Best American Short Stories and many other places. Her short story collection, News From Heaven won the Massachusetts Book Award and the PEN New England Award in Fiction. Haigh also received the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction for her title Mrs. Kimble. From literary events and conferences to craft workshop, Haigh leaves audiences inspired and with further knowledge of the writing process.

Currently, Haigh resides in Boston.

Praise for Jennifer Haigh:

“Jennifer Haigh was engaging, entertaining and greatly enjoyed by our audience.”
--Sue Carey, First Vice President, Friends of the Nashua Public Library

Praise for Heat and Light:

“Ms. Haigh is an expertly nuanced storyteller long overdue for major attention. Her work is gripping, real and totally immersive, akin to that of writers as different as Richard Price, Richard Ford and Richard Russo.”
-- Janet Maslin, New York Times

“We finally have a novel - and a novelist - whose ambitions match the scale of this subject…a tour-de-force of multiple point-of-view narration…DeLillo-esque…Haigh’s achievement in this expansive, gripping novel is to delineate the ways in which we are all connected, for better and worse.”
--The Washington Post

“The novel is not an environmental treatise masked as fiction; rather, it’s a perfectly paced rendering of the intertwined characters’ personal stories. Haigh smoothly switches between past and present, fully exposing that, indeed, the past is not even past. This is a must-read...”
--Booklist (starred review)

“Each page glimmers…Sweeping yet intimate, Heat and Light is an exemplar of fiction’s capacity to awaken us to truth.”
--O, the Oprah Magazine

“Paragraph by paragraph, the prose is full of marvelous texture and material sensation. Heat and Light is an intricate and ambitious novel, firmly grounded in history and our time. The narrator’s encyclopedic knowledge and keen insights about the physical world and social life make the novel a thrilling page turner.”
--Ha Jin, National Book Award-winning author of WAITING

“...a stunning book, a grand book, a book of old-fashioned power and scale...it takes aim at power and greed, plunder and the profit motive, the rapacity inherent in the American Dream and the complicity of its victims..This is an unsparing book, and one that sings.”
--Joshua Ferris, author of THEN WE CAME TO THE END

Heat and Light is a riveting panoramic tale keying on the lives impacted by Big Energy…  In the spirit of Don DeLillo’s Underworld and the novels of Dana Spiotta and Rachel Kushner...a greyhound of a novel; smart, sharp, hyper precise, and near incantatory in its momentum.”
--Richard Price

Heat and Light achieves pure novelistic virtuosity. It’s brilliant beginning to end.”
--Richard Ford

Praise for News From Heaven:

“An uplifting and radiant book.”
--Janet Maslin, New York Times

“Elegant stories. . . . Haigh uses well-timed plot twists to infuse them with bright new energy.”

“A vibrant, thought-provoking, profoundly readable contribution to the genre. . . . Each of these ten linked stories represents a distinct, shining example of Haigh’s remarkable gifts for lyricism, psychological insight, and stealth humor.”
--Boston Globe

“Outstanding… News From Heaven fits quite comfortably in the company of the hybrid novel-in-stories made so popular by predecessors such as Jhumpa Lahiri…and Elizabeth Strout…For Haigh, this small town is a large canvas, one filled in with precise, poignant strokes.”
-- Washington Post

“Haigh has a fine eye for how time works on characters’ theories about themselves…. Haigh, whose first book won the PEN/Hemingway Award, has a sure grip on her characters and a belief in place as a determining factor in the shapes of our lives.”
--New York Times Book Review

“This collection of short stories shows depth, understanding and compassion. . . . Haigh’s narratives are beautifully realized stories of heartbreak, of qualified love, and of economic as well as personal depression.”
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Jennifer Haigh’s stories rove across time and cultures as easily as they render the tendernesses and longings and hardscrabble deprivations of home. NEWS FROM HEAVEN is well-named, given that its unsentimental compassion and observational acuity. . . is just what we need right now.”
--Jim Shepard, author of Like You'd Understand, Anyway

“The characters in Jennifer Haigh’s NEWS FROM HEAVEN are so vividly drawn, the inner lives revealed so deftly, with such intelligence and sympathy, that fictional Bakerton, Pennsylvania, takes on the additional weight of, say, Winesburg, Ohio.”
--Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Empire Falls

“Jennifer Haigh has accomplished what James Joyce did in Dubliners and Sherwood Anderson in Winesburg, Ohio: render a place with such exactitude the landscape, character, and fate are inextricably linked. One of America’s finest novelists, Haigh is now one of our finest short story writers as well.”
--bestselling author Ron Rash

Praise for Baker Towers:

“The living, breathing organism that is Haigh’s captivating book… [is an] effortlessly haunting story… [Haigh is] an expert natural storyteller.”
--New York Times

“Jennifer Haigh’s ambitious, elegiac second novel, Baker Towers [is]… a rich portrait of place.”
--Washington Post Book World

“An elegant, elegiac multigenerational saga. . . . Almost mythic in its ambition, somewhere between Oates and Updike country, and thoroughly satisfying.”
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Jennifer Haigh stakes a claim for a major breakout.”
--Publishers Weekly

“In clean, authoritative prose, Haigh uncannily injects new life into an era too often entombed by nostalgia.”
-- Entertainment Weekly

“Haigh’s writing is rich and mellifluous, and her story certainly has an old-fashioned charm and dignity to it.”
--The Times (London)

Praise for Faith:

“Both riveting and profound. . . . An incredibly suspenseful novel.”
--Washington Post

“A masterpiece of tension and tenderness.”
--More magazine

“Luminous. . . . The novel has the magnetic, page-turning quality of a detective thriller, but the clues here lead not to objective proof but to insight into a family both vividly specific and astonishingly universal. . . . . Wise.”
--O magazine

“Haigh deals with complex moral issues in subtle ways, and her narrative is beautifully, sometimes achingly poignant.”
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“With an exquisite sense of drama and mystery, Haigh delivers a taut, well-crafted tale. . . . Indelibly rendered characters, suspenseful pacing, and fearless but sensitive handling of a controversial subject will make this a must-read for book discussion groups.”
--Booklist (starred review)

“FAITH is so emotionally rich, and its story so deftly delivered, that we’re absorbed.”
--Wall Street Journal

“Expertly wrought. . . . Ms. Haigh, a subtle, serious novelist who happens to have a flair for capturing troubled family dynamics, never allows FAITH to become predictable. . . . Gripping. . . . Substantial.”
--New York Times

Praise for Mrs. Kimble:

“It’s rare that a novelist offers both page-turning linear momentum and graceful stylistic arabesques. Jennifer Haigh gives her readers both in Mrs. Kimble, the tale of three complex women and shrewd, cold-blooded Ken Kimble, who married them all in the course of four decades. This book is notable not merely because of Haigh’s rich characterizations and the deft maturity with which she explores love; it is also an insightful social history, tracing both the role of women and the place of marriage in the second half of the twentieth century. Elegantly structured, rich with wisdom and surprise, here is a truly remarkable first novel.”
--Judges’ citation, 2004 PEN/Hemingway Award

Praise for The Condition:

“[Haigh] looks unflinchingly at family ties—the kind that limit and the kind that can actually liberate. The Condition is a satisfying feat of literary choreography.”
--Wall Street Journal

“THE CONDITION is something rare. . . . Ms. Haigh has a great gift for telling interwoven family stories and doing justice to all the different perspectives they present. . . . A remarkable accomplishment.”
--Janet Maslin, New York Times Book Review

“Haigh’s characters are layered and authentic. Moreover, one would have to have a heart of stone not to care for them and follow their small sagas. . . . Haigh is such a gifted chronicler of the human condition.”
--Chris Bohjalian, Washington Post Book World

“Jennifer Haigh illuminates the dark tangle of desire and deed that is the family, that crucible we so often yearn to flee yet keep coming back to again and again. THE CONDITION is unsentimental, compelling, and moving, and I urge you to read it!”
--Andre Dubus III, New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award finalist House of Sand and Fog

“The ailment at the center of this remarkable novel is the human condition itself. Jennifer Haigh has written a sprawling, emotionally gripping account of one family’s troubled history, enlivened by her formidable intelligence and deep insight into her characters’ hearts and minds.”
--Tom Perrotta, New York Times bestselling author of Little Children and Election

“[A] rich, enjoyable third novel. . . . Haigh sets many balls in motion . . . [and] the McKotch clan evolves believably, and satisfyingly.”
--People (People Pick)

“Poignant. . . . A strong nod to the healing power of love.”
--Publishers Weekly

“Filled with genuine insight and touching lyricism.”
--Kirkus Reviews