Jennifer Altmann


Jennifer Altmann  Photo by Frank Wojciechowski

Princeton alumni have a lot to say, and they are good at getting it on the page. In the last six months, alumni and faculty members have published nearly 150 books, by our estimates, and PAW has covered them in the magazine, on our website, and in our monthly email newsletter, Princeton Books, thanks primarily to the efforts of books editor Jennifer Altmann. The breadth of subjects is dazzling: From sociology to St. Paul, gynecology to genealogy, Syria to censorship, Princetonians cover a lot of territory.

One of the most prolific writers is Jodi Picoult ’87. In the last 23 years, she has published 23 novels, and her last eight books debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list. How has she managed to write so much, and so well? “I’m a workaholic,” she says. “I will start a new book the day after finishing a previous one.”

Next month, Picoult will answer questions from PAW readers, so ask her anything from why she writes musicals to how she came up with the jaw-dropping ending in her latest novel, Leaving Time. Visit by May 4 to submit your questions and sign up for PAW’s books newsletter.

Not all Princeton writers are aiming for the bestseller list — some just want to get down on paper what they’ve learned about life so far. After Kelly Lytle ’05 lost his father, Rob Lytle, to a heart attack at 56, he began writing letters to the man he considered his best friend. To Dad, From Kelly reflects, he says, “on the lessons I learned from my father and the questions between us that went unasked and unanswered.” It’s a tribute to the power of love, and of the written word.