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People Top 5
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- June 09, 1980
- Vol. 13
- No. 23
Jayne Anne Phillips, 27, scribbled a novel in a notebook when she was only 12. Her calling, however, turned out to be the short story. Black Tickets, her third and latest collection, led John (Garp) Irving to commend her as "a wonderful young writer" and critics to praise her as "an electric talent" with Fellini-like vision. Published last year by Delacorte and now in its second printing, Black Tickets is recommended reading at Vassar. "I never had any money until recently. My parents," she laughs, "still have fantasies of my ending up in the gutter." Actually, it's her tormented characters—drifters, strippers and jailbirds—who wind up there. Jayne scraped by, waitressing and peddling aluminum siding door to door before earning her master of fine arts in 1978 from the University of Iowa. Then a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship relieved her financial worries. The daughter of a road construction foreman and a schoolteacher (now divorced), Jayne grew up in rural Buckhannon, W.Va. and lives in arty Province-town, Mass. She produces slowly ("Two pages means a good day"), with no thought of a best-seller. Instead, she aims "to write something timeless."
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