Jacquelyn Mitchard

New York Times Bestselling Novelist

Readings & Lecture Topics

  • An Evening with Jacquelyn Mitchard

“Mitchard has always turned an unflinching eye toward catastrophe in her work. Her distinctive voice is strong and includes ironic and even funny observations about the human condition.” – The Washington Post

Jacquelyn Mitchard has written twelve novels for adults, including several New York Times bestsellers. Her first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was the inaugural selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, later adapted for a feature film starring and produced by Michelle Pfeiffer, and was a #1 New York Times Bestseller. In 2010, the book was named by USA Today as one of the ten most influential books of the past 25 years. Her most recent novel is Two If by Sea (Simon & Schuster, 2016), “an epic story of courage and devotion that spans three continents and the entire map of the human heart.” Paula McLain calls the book, “Soulful and emotionally arresting,” and continues, “Two If by Sea is somehow both a startling departure for Jacquelyn Mitchard and the deepest sort of coming home….Mitchard masterfully mines the place where catastrophic loss meets near-impossible hope and healing, and where ordinary love and sorrow meet the most extraordinary interventions. This book will open your mind and heart in equal measures.”

All of Mitchard’s novels have been bestsellers. Other titles include The Most Wanted, A Theory of Relativity, Twelve Times Blessed, and The Breakdown Lane and Cage of Stars. Goodreads has noted: Critics have praised Mitchard’s novels for their authentic humanity and skillful command of story. Readers identify because they see reflected, in her characters – however extreme their circumstances – emotions they already understand.” Mitchard once said in an interview, “In real life, you can’t tell all the time who the good guys and bad guys are, and a lot of times people are a mixture of both things. Either they are very flawed people who have moments of extraordinary grace, or they’re very good people who have moments of self-centered or self-destructive behavior. I think that’s what I try to portray in my books, because readers can relate to somebody who is not either perfect or the perfect villain.”

She has also written seven novels for Young Adults—the first, Now You See Her, from HarperTeen, is the story of a pampered, driven young actress who fakes her own abduction; five children’s books; a memoir, Mother Less Child; and a collection of essays, The Rest of Us: Dispatches from the Mother Ship. Mitchard’s work as part of Shadow Show, the anthology of short stories honoring her mentor, Ray Bradbury, won the Bram Stoker Award and Shirley Jackson Award, and was short-listed for the Audie Award.

Mitchard’s essays also have been published in newspapers and magazines worldwide, widely anthologized, and incorporated into school curricula. Mitchard is the editor in chief and co-creator of Merit Press, a realistic YA Fiction imprint. A Chicago native, Mitchard is a Distinguished Fellow at the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois, and a DeWitt Walker Readers Digest Fellow at the MacDowell Colony in Peterboro, NH. Mitchard is a professor of Fiction and Creative non-fiction at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier VT.

She lives on Cape Cod with her husband and their nine children, who range in age from eleven to 30.

Visit Jacquelyn Mitchard’s website. 


Jacquelyn Mitchard is the author of 21 books of fiction and non-fiction for adults, Young Adults, and children, including The Deep End of the Ocean, the first selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, translated into 30 languages, with more than 3 million copies in print. Mitchard’s novels have won or been short-listed for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction, The Bram Stoker Award, The Shirley Jackson Award, and the UK’s Talkabout Prize, and have included five New York Times bestsellers. She has also authored an essay collection (Dispatches from the Mother Ship) and a memoir, Mother Less Child. The editor in chief and curator of Merit Press, a realistic Young Adult imprint under the auspices of Simon and Schuster, Mitchard also is a professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives on Cape Cod with her family.


Two If By Sea (Novel, 2016)

“Mitchard’s latest novel explores the fascinating question of those who have extraordinary gifts, what responsibility comes with those gifts, and where the line of morality falls between those poles. A thoughtful, sweeping read.” —Jodi Picoult

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean, an epic story of courage and devotion that spans three continents and the entire map of the human heart. Just hours after his wife and her entire family perish in the Christmas Eve tsunami in Brisbane, American expat and former police officer Frank Mercy goes out to join his volunteer rescue unit and pulls a little boy from a submerged car, saving the child’s life with only seconds to spare. In that moment, Frank’s own life is transformed. Not quite knowing why, Frank sidesteps the law, when, instead of turning Ian over to the Red Cross, he takes the boy home to the Midwestern farm where he grew up. Not long into their journey, Frank begins to believe that Ian has an extraordinary, impossible telepathic gift; but his only wish is to protect the deeply frightened child. As Frank struggles to start over, training horses as his father and grandfather did before him, he meets Claudia, a champion equestrian and someone with whom he can share his life—and his fears for Ian. Both of them know that it will be impossible to keep Ian’s gift a secret forever. Already, ominous coincidences have put Frank’s police instincts on high alert, as strangers trespass the quiet life at the family farm. The fight to keep Ian safe from a sinister group who want him back takes readers from the ravaged shores of Brisbane to the middle of America to a quaint English village. Even as Frank and Claudia dare to hope for new love, it becomes clear that they can never let Ian go, no matter what the cost. A suspenseful novel on a grand scale, Two If by Sea is about the best and worst in people, and the possibility of heroism and even magic in ordinary life.