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Born in 1957, Mona Simpson spent her early years in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She moved with her mother to Los Angeles as a teenager. While earning her M.F.A. degree at Columbia, Simpson became an editor at the Paris Review. She won accolades for her first novel Anywhere But Here (1986). After that initial success, Simpson has continued to produce well-regarded literary works, including My Hollywood (2010).
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With 2000's Off Keck Road, Simpson made a dramatic departure from her past fiction. She eschewed the first-person narrative for this work, choosing to write this novella—which spans about 50 years and details the lives of three women—in third person. The book, set in Simpson's hometown of Green Bay, Wisconsin, explores the idea of "home" with these midwestern characters tied to one community.
In 2010, Simpson published My Hollywood. The novel, which took her 10 years to write,
examines the lives and relationships of a composer and the Filipina nanny she's hired to take care of her son. Simpson told UCLA Today that "I thought a lot about the question, 'Can you buy love?' We all want children raised with love. Can you get that by hiring it? It's an interesting question." This novel made the Best Books of 2010 lists for several publications, including The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker. Publisher's Weekly wrote, "Funny, smart, and filled with razor sharp observations about life and parenthood, Simpson's latest is well worth the wait."
As for the future, Simpson is at work on several projects. She is writing one that involves amateur detectives and another regarding "diaspora Arabs living in the United States," according to her website. To aspiring writers, Simpson offers the following advice: "I would say to read—that's how we all learn."
Now divorced, Simpson has two children, Gabriel and Grace, from her marriage to TV writer Richard Appel. Appel worked on the popular animated series The Simpsons for several years and named one of the characters after his then-wife. Simpson lives in Los Angeles and works as a professor at Bard College and the University of California, Los Angeles.
Simpson was in her twenties when she reunited with her older brother Steve Jobs. The pair, despite their long separation, developed a close bond as adults. She was reportedly with Jobs when he died in 2012. At his funeral, Simpson delivered a eulogy praising her brother's passion for his work and for his family.
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