Allison's Book Bag

Best-Selling Author, E. Lockhart

Posted on: January 29, 2015

She writes under the name of Jenkins and under the name of Lockhart. She grew up in Massachusetts and in Washington, but now lives in New York. She attended a private high school and summer drama camps. She has a doctorate in English Literature, with picture books, young adult novels, and adult fiction to her credit. She also landed a book on the best seller list. Who is she? The author of We Were Liars, my kickoff read to my month of best-seller selections. I’ll review the novel tomorrow. Save the date: January 30!


Emily Jenkins, who also writes under the name E. Lockhart, was born in New York in 1967. She was the only child of a playwright. Since Lockhart was eight years old, she’s wanted to be a writer. She even wrote two novels in third grade!

In eighth-grade, Lockhart was the fastest typist. She learned to write on a manual typewriter. Now she types everything on a computer, sometimes with her eyes closed.

In college, Lockhart used to cry after her fiction writing class, because of the harsh criticism. The teacher of that class admitted to her that her stories bored her so much that he couldn’t finish reading them.

ELockhartDespite growing up with the dream of becoming a writer, Lockhart has never kept a journal for more than a couple of days. She also got side-tracked by the theater and considered becoming an actress. In college, however, Lockhart studied illustrated books for her thesis and studied literature for her doctorate. At age twenty-two, she began to seriously pursue a writing career. From colleagues and editors, she received ideas about how make her work better. Magazine work made her miserable and now she strictly writes books.

Lockhart mostly makes a living as an author. At different points in her life, she has also taught students of different ages ranges, from three to eight to adult. Currently, Lockhart teaches creative writing at Hamline University’s low-residency MFA program in Writing for Children.

To read more biographical info, check out Lockhart’s Bio page. I also consulted:


The first book to bear the byline of E. Lockhart was The Boyfriend List. In reference to this book, Lockhart shared with Random House that in a drawer is a list of every boy she ever kissed—the inspiration for The Boyfriend List. The book takes place in Seattle, where she spent her high school years. However, it is not autobiographical, except for the feeling of heartbreak. Lockhart wrote it because “she wanted to articulate how horrendous people sometimes are to each other in high school, how much fun (and also how evil) gossip can be, and the intense and complicated emotions brought about by the end of first love”. There are three sequels.

We Were Liars is the most current to bear the Lockhart name. In reference to this book, Lockhart shared with Guardian that an inspiration to the book is classic literature. For example, King Lear evoked the idea of sibling rivalry over money and the universal topic of love is a universal topic. Wuthering Heights also proved an influence, although Lockhart herself didn’t recognize this until she had done several drafts of my story. Readers of We Were Liars will also know that Lockhart used fairy tales to have the main character of Cadence tell truths about her family that were unspeakable any other way. We Were Liars is perhaps most famous for its use of twists that keep readers guessing about what really happened to Cadence. Lockhart rewrote We Were Liars more than fifteen times and repeatedly reorganized it. You can hear more about what inspired it here:

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