Curtis Sittenfeld is an American writer of novels and short stories. She is the author of the novels Prep, Man of My Dreams, American Wife, Sisterland, and Eligible. She published one collection of short stories, You Think It, I'll Say It, in 2018, and her novel Rodham will be published in 2020.
Sittenfeld was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. One of four siblings, she applied to the prestigious Groton School and left Ohio for boarding school as a teenager. She showed promise as a writer from an early age. During high school, she won the Seventeen magazine fiction contest, and went on to attend Vassar College. She transferred from Vassar to Stanford University, where she studied Creative Writing. She continued to write in college, and published articles in campus papers. During her years at Stanford, she was selected as one of Glamour magazine's women of the year. After leaving Stanford, Sittenfeld received an MFA in Creative Writing from the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop.
While working on her first novel, Prep, Sittenfeld taught at the boys' boarding school St. Albans in Washington, D.C. This first novel, which hit bestseller lists soon after its release, is loosely inspired by Sittenfeld's experiences both attending and teaching at boarding schools. Only a year after publishing her enormously popular debut, Random House published Man of My Dreams, another coming-of-age story with a longer timeline focusing on a teenager and young adult named Hannah. American Wife, published two years later, tells the story of an American First Lady thought to be based on Laura Bush. Sisterland, published in 2013, focuses on two fictional twins with psychic abilities. Finally, Eligible is a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Rodham, to be released in 2020, is a work of speculative fiction based on the life of Hillary Rodham Clinton. The book imagines how Clinton's life might have developed had she rejected Bill Clinton's proposal of marriage and continued to pursue politics without her husband. In addition to these novels, Sittenfeld has been a prolific writer of short stories and essays in outlets such as The New Yorker and Glamour.
Sittenfeld identifies as a feminist, and in fact published a controversial op-ed during her boarding-school days focusing on her school's treatment of female students. This occurrence, along with others in Sittenfeld's life, have caused some critics to note that her first novel may be largely autobiographical. She has responded by arguing that the quality of a work of fiction has little to do with the source of an author's inspiration. Her other novels have had a wide range of plots, inspired by sources such as historical figures and classic novels.