Jandy Nelson was born in New York in 1965. She studied Creative Writing and Literature at Cornell University in New York, the Sorbonne in Paris, Brown University in Providence, and the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, Vermont. She completed Masters programs in Poetry and Writing for Children and Young Adults.
After working for 13 years as a literary agent with Manus & Associates, Nelson had her debut as an author in 2010 with the novel »The Sky is Everywhere«. It is the story of the 17-year-old wallflower Lennie Walker, who, shaken by the sudden death of her beloved sister Bailey, steps out of Bailey’s shadow and has to decide between two boys who, like the sun and the moon, snatch her out of her grief and console her, but whose collision course could make Lennie’s whole universe collapse. The intensity of a first great love is potentiated with a first great loss in a passionate story that is also gripping in its depiction of youthful vulnerability and captivating through its melodic language and characters drawn from life. A review on the news page of »The Daily Beast« recommended the novel, which made it onto many literary best lists internationally, to everyone who thinks books for young people cannot attain the literary quality and maturity of stories for adults. In 2014, Nelson published her second novel, the »New York Times« bestselling »I’ll Give You the Sun«, which tells the story of a close relationship between twins that breaks apart because of a series of tragic events and misunderstandings. It also narrates the arduous process of reassembling the shards, to get a complete picture of what has happened to Jude and her brother Noah in the meantime and to put their world back in order. The story, which shifts back and forth between the two viewpoints and in time, is impressive for the intensity of its language, which breaks out of familiar formulas and metaphors, and for its memorable characters, whose struggle with family and their own (sexual) identity appeals also to adult readers.
Among the many awards that Nelson received for »I’ll Give You the Sun« are the Josette Frank Book Award and the Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature (2015). Parts of the prose poem »Somniloquy«, on which the author has long been working and that she envisions expanding to book size, have appeared in literary magazines like the »American Letters and Commentary and Five Fingers Review«.
Jandy Nelson lives in San Francisco.