Transgender & Civil Rights Pioneer, Bestselling author & New York Times Columnist; GLAAD National Co-chair
Jennifer Finney Boylan is the author of the critically acclaimed breakthrough bestseller She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders, one of the first bestselling works by a transgender American, and Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs, a memoir about the transformative power of loving dogs. An activist for LGBTQ people, and transgender men and women in particular, she is a sought-after speaker on a wide range of topics including LGBTQ issues, memoir, creative writing, and diversity, and has given plenary and keynote speeches at conferences on diversity and scholarship, at law firms and corporate events, as well as at colleges, universities, and creative writing conferences and programs. She has been a frequent guest on a number of national television and radio programs, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, the Barbara Walters Special, NPR’s Marketplace and Talk of the Nation, is a regular contributor to the op-ed page of The New York Times, and has also been the subject of documentaries on CBS News’ 48 Hours, and The History Channel.
The author of 13 books of both fiction and nonfiction, Boylan is the inaugural Anna Quindlen Writer in Residence at Barnard College of Columbia University, serves as the national co-chair of the Board of Directors of GLAAD, the media advocacy group for LGBTQ people worldwide, and is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. Boylan also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Kinsey Institute for Research on Sex, Gender, and Reproduction and as special advisor to the President of Colby College in Maine where she taught for 25 years. Boylan was a consultant and cast member for I Am Cait, the E! Network docu-series about Caitlyn Jenner, and also served as a consultant to the acclaimed Amazon series Transparent.
Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs is a universal account of a remarkable story: showing how a young boy became a middle-aged woman—accompanied at seven crucial moments of growth and transformation by seven memorable dogs. “Everything I know about love,” she writes, “I learned from dogs.” Their love enables us to pull off what seem like impossible feats: to find our way home when we are lost, to live our lives with humor and courage, and above all, to best become our true selves.
She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders, is Boylan’s winning, utterly surprising memoir of a person changing genders, and one of the first bestselling works by a transgender American. Until 2001, she published under the name James Boylan. Stuck in the Middle with You: Parenthood in Three Genders is her memoir about the differences between fatherhood and motherhood. Stuck in the Middle holds that “having a father who became a mother has helped my sons, in turn, become better men.” Her novel, Long Black Veil, is the story of a woman whose family and identity are threatened by a haunted past, and has received high praise from authors like Richard Russo and Jodi Picoult.
Boylan lives in New York City and rural Maine with her wife, Deirdre “Grace” Finney, and two sons, Zach and Sean.
Praise for Jenny Finney Boylan’s Talks
“After reading She’s Not There, my students asked if we could bring Jenny Boylan to campus. What a huge impact she had on Creative Writing students; Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies students; and students at the Pride Center as well as at the general campus community during her evening reading and commentary. Bringing Jenny to OSU was inspired by students and she was inspirational for them during her visit.”
— The Graduate School, Oregon State University
“Jennifer Finney Boylan does not disappoint. Jenny’s story has great value and meaning and keeps the audience entertained. A vibrant storyteller, her message can be described as poignant, hilarious and not to be missed. A gifted speaker, Jenny has a riveting story to share with us. As a college professor, she relates well to college students. We are very proud to have hosted Jennifer Finney Boylan on our campus. The Clark University community is deeply committed to meaningful diversity and inclusion. Our students recognize that her message went beyond transgender issues. Jenny is an inspiration.”
— Office of Intercultural Affairs, Clark University
Praise for Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs
“Boylan’s gorgeously crafted homage to our unconditional love of dogs turns out to be much less of a paean to her constant canine companions, and much more of a journey through her own psyche and the moral needle of the world we live in. What do we keep, even as we lose pieces of ourselves? The dog at your feet while you’re reading already knows the answer.”
―Jodi Picoult, #1 NYT bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things
“Good Boy is a warm, funny, instantly engaging testament to the power of love―canine and human―to ease us through life’s radical transitions. And I say that as a cat person!”
―Jennifer Egan, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, and Manhattan Beach
“Beautiful, tender, and utterly engaging, Good Boy measures out Boylan’s life in dog years. The result is a gorgeous memoir, full of heart and insight.”
―Susan Orlean, author of The Library Book
“Jenny Boylan has given us a story full of humor, earned wisdom, and large doses of unconditional love. Beautifully written, wise, and funny, Good Boy is a gift to us all―but especially the dog lovers.”
―Jami Attenberg, author of All This Could Be Yours
“How do you measure a life? Anyone who has lived serially with dogs will appreciate Jenny Finney Boylan”s brilliant answer: through the dogs who have accompanied you through that life. The dogs we choose reflect us, and how we live with them reflects on us. Silent observers of the vicissitudes of growing up—and being grown up—Boylan’s dogs track her selves. Good dogs, all.”
―Alexandra Horowitz, author of Our Dogs, Ourselves: The Story of a Singular Bond, and the New York Times bestselling Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know
Praise for She’s Not There
“Boylan observes carefully, and with love. [Her] levitating wit is wisely tethered to a humane concern…. I often broke into laughter, and was now and again, struck with wonder.”
“Beautifully crafted, fearless, painfully honest, inspiring and extremely witty. Jennifer Finney Boylan is an exquisite writer with a fascinating story and this combination has resulted in one of the most remarkable, moving and unforgettable memoirs in recent history.”
“Probably no book I’ve read in recent years has made me so question my basic assumptions about both the centrality and the permeability of gender, and made me recognize myself in a situation I’ve never known and have never faced……The universality of the astonishingly uncommon: that’s the trick of She’s Not There. And with laughs, too. What a good book.”
Praise for Long Black Veil
“In the tradition of Donna Tartt, Jennifer Finney Boylan has crafted a thriller that’s intellectual, existential, and compulsively readable. If change is the only constant in life, how much can a person reinvent himself and still be the same? Long after the last page is turned, you will be thinking about the nature of identity, the pull of the past, and whether you can ever outrun the person you used to be.
— Jodi Picoult, New York Times-bestselling author
“Boylan, who has reaped praise in recent years with memoirs exploring her transgender experience, doesn’t miss a storytelling beat in her first novel as she blends atmospheric elements of a Shirley Jackson–like haunting, a secret-laden murder tale featuring an ensemble cast, and an eye-opening glimpse of the complex choices transgender people face. This crime debut is certain to attract a genre-blurring following, but recommendations to fans of Erin Kelly’s The Poison Tree and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History are sure bets.”
— Booklist, starred
Praise for Stuck in the Middle with You
“[A] warm, engaging memoir…This informal investigation and her touchingly funny and always candid story work together to reveal the book’s ultimate truth: that ‘to accept the wondrous scope of gender is to affirm the vast potential of life in all its messy, unfathomable beauty’…Genuinely insightful through and through.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Boylan illuminates diverse family relationships and the many ways families operate fluidly on a seemingly never-ending spectrum. This unique and giving book has tremendous resonance.”