Credit © David Howell

The Author’s Bookshelf: Jay McInerney

Jay McInerney is the critically acclaimed author of ten books – eight of which are works of fiction. Time Magazine cited his first bestselling novel, Bright Lights, Big City (1984), as one of nine generation-defining novels of the twentieth century. Translated into more than 20 languages it has irrefutably achieved the status of a contemporary classic. “Each generation needs its Manhattan novel, and many ache to write it” noted the New York Times Book Review, “but it was McInerney who succeeded”.

His other novels are Ransom (1985), Story of My Life (1988), Brightness Falls (1992), The Last of the Savages (1996), Model Behavior (1999) and The Good Life (2006). Described as “McInerney’s most fully imagined novel as it is his most ambitious and elegiac” by The New York Review of Books, McInerney’s most recent novel The Good Life also received the Grand Prix Literaire at the Deauville Film Festival in 2007. How It Ended (2009), a collection of short stories spanning his entire career, was named one of the 10 best books of the year by The New York Times.


McInerney has written for numerous literary and popular publications including New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The Guardian, Corriera della Serra, The Times Literary Supplement and The New York Review of Books. Since April 2010 he has written a wine column for the Wall Street Journal. From 1996 to 2007 he wrote a monthly wine column for Conde Nast’s House and Garden. Many of those columns were collected in Bacchus and Me (2000) and A Hedonist in the Cellar (2006). In 2006 McInerney won the James Beard MFK Fisher Award for Distinguished Writing for his food and wine work.

Again, successfully straddling genres, McInerney wrote the screenplay for the critically acclaimed film Gia for which Angelina Jolie won a Golden Globe and which launched her acting career. He also wrote the 1988 United Artists film version of his novel, Bright Lights, Big City, which starred Michael J. Fox. Josh Schwartz, creator of Gossip Girl and the OC has optioned the rights for a contemporary remake of Bright Lights, Big City, which is currently in development. A quintessential New York voice and persona (and in the spirit George Plimpton), McInerney has performed in two cameos on the television show, Gossip Girl (2010 and 2011).

Favorably comparing his work to that of F. Scott Fitzgerald and J.D. Salinger, The New York Times describes it as the “voice of a generation.” In 1989 McInerney was named a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library.

McInerney is the father of two children, Barrett and Maisie, and is married to Anne Randolph Hearst. He divides his time between Bridgehampton, New York and New York City.