Jeffrey Eugenides

Jeffrey Eugenides is a New Jersey-based novelist and short story writer.

Selected Works:

The Virgin Suicides, Middlesex, The Marriage Plot


2003 Pulitzer Prize; National Book Critics Circle Award (Middlesex)

Visit Author Website

Which one or two American books or plays would you recommend to the foreign leaders?  Briefly, why?

DeTocqueville's Democracy in America, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman and Richard Ford's trilogy: The Sportswriter, Independence Day and The Lay of the Land.

In order to understand America, you need to understand three things: its origins, its soul and its trajectory. Democracy in America describes the first; Leaves of Grass delineates the second; and Richard Ford's trilogy sketches the third.

Who in your childhood–for example, parent or teacher—encouraged you to read books, and which one or two books do you remember most fondly?

When I was seventeen, a child by literary standards, my English teacher, Eric Linder, forced me to read Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. How I hated it! But how I love it now! This is what teachers are for: to tell us what we need to read when we don't yet know.

Which books by writers of the other G8 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, Russia) have affected you as a reader and/or been most important to you as a writer?

In my teens, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses by James Joyce; in my twenties, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera, Nabokov's Lolita and Pale Fire, and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Márquez; in my thirties The Information by Martin Amis; in my twenties, thirties, forties, and forever, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

What is the Power of the Word Exhibit?

Power of the Word: Leaders, Readers and Writers is the first online exhibition of The American Writers Museum. As world leaders gather in the U.S. this spring, The American Writers Museum Foundation is inviting American writers and readers to explore the power of the word and join in a discussion of how American books can help readers in other parts of the world better understand our culture.

Leaders Gallery

An exploration into what some of the world’s most powerful leaders like to read, and how reading has influenced them.

Writers Gallery

American writers comment on their early experiences with reading and name the books they think world leaders should read in order to better understand American culture.

Readers Gallery

An interactive, open forum where readers are invited to join the discussion by answering the question: Which American works of literature do you think leaders from other nations should read in order to gain a better understanding of America?

We would like to thank our exhibit sponsors for their generous support:


What is The American Writers Museum?

The mission of The American Writers Museum Foundation is to establish the first national museum in the United States dedicated to engaging the public in celebrating American writers and exploring their influence on our history, our identity, our culture and our daily lives. Learn more at