Sullivan, John Jeremiah 1974-
SULLIVAN, John Jeremiah 1974-
PERSONAL: Born 1974, in Louisville, KY; son of Michael Sullivan (a sportswriter). Education: Graduated from University of the South, 1997.
CAREER: Author and editor. Sewanee Review, Sewanee, TN, editorial assistant; Oxford American, Conway, AR, editor; Oxford University Press, New York, NY, member of history department staff; Harper's, New York, NY, senior editor; Gentleman's Quarterly, New York, NY, writer-at-large.
AWARDS, HONORS: National Magazine Award, and Eclipse Award, both for "Horseman, Pass By."
Blood Horses: Notes of a Sportswriter's Son (memoir), Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor of short fiction to Harper's and to The Best of the Oxford American: Ten Years from the Southern Magazine of Good Writing, edited by Marc Smirnoff, Hill Street Press (Atlanta, GA), 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: Born in Louisville, Kentucky, author and editor John Jeremiah Sullivan was educated in the American south. His writing has appeared in various periodicals, and his article, "Feet in Smoke," which recounts the experiences of his brother after waking from a coma that resulted from being electrocuted, was included in The Best of the Oxford American anthology. Another story, the award-winning "Horseman, Pass By," served as the basis for Sullivan's first book.
Although he grew up in horse country, Sullivan's interest in the sport of horse racing was sparked when he learned that his father, a sportswriter who claimed not to like sports, considered Secretariat's winning of the Kentucky Derby to be the highlight of his career. Blood Horses: Notes of a Sportswriter's Son is part history of horse racing, part travelogue, and part memoir, with Sullivan combining excursions to tracks and horse farms and a history of horses and their training with his own attempts to understand a father who lived a hard life. As he noted in an interview with Steve Zeitchik for Publishers Weekly, the book "is meant to be a collage; I left the reader to assemble the pieces."
Reviewers remarked on this "collage" by generally praising Sullivan's examination of horse racing and lauding his remembrances of his father. New York Times Book Review critic Richard Eder noted that "the virtues of 'Blood Horses' are frequently not in what it unearths but in what it may get a bemused reader to unearth." Alyson Hagy, in a review for Chicago's Tribune Books, observed that "though Sullivan is brilliant in his analysis of the cultural meaning of the horse, . . . his wrenching and hilarious recollections of his father carry the day." A contributor for Publishers Weekly wrote that Sullivan "has written a history as sweeping as it is personal and . . . as remarkable as the finest horses it documents." And in the Kirkus Reviews, a contributor commented that Sullivan's book is "not simply a love letter to horseflesh; it is a warm elegy for a man, a father, as well."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Sullivan, John Jeremiah, Blood Horses: Notes of aSportswriter's Son, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (New York, NY), 2004.
Booklist, April 15, 2004, Dennis Dodge, review of Blood Horses: Notes of a Sportswriter's Son, p. 1416.
Economist, June 19, 2004, "So Near, and Yet So Far; Men and Horses," p. 97.
Entertainment Weekly, April 23, 2004, Cynthia Grisolia, review of Blood Horses, p. 761.
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2004, review of BloodHorses, p. 124.
New York Times, April 9, 2004, Richard Eder, "A Kentucky Story of Fathers and Sons, among Writers as Well as Racehorses," p. E2.
Publishers Weekly, September 30, 2002, "Short Takes," p. 14; February 23, 2004, Steve Zeitchik, "The Secret Life of Horses" (interview), and review of Blood Horses, p. 60.
Sports Illustrated, April 12, 2004, Daniel G. Habib, "The Mane Attraction: A Poignant Memoir Reflects on the Bond between Horse and Man," p. Z9.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), July 25, 2004, Alyson
Hagy, "Horse Power: Five Books Examine the Animal's Mysterious Hold on Humans," p. 1.
Harper's Online,http://www.harpers.org/ (August 27, 2004), "John Jeremiah Sullivan."
On the Same Page Web site,http://www.aetn.org/ (August 27, 2004), "John Jeremiah Sullivan."*