The Official Website for Wally Lamb, New York Times #1 Bestselling Author.
About Wally Lamb
Wally Lamb is the author of six New York Times best-selling novels: I’ll Take You There, We Are Water, Wishin’ and Hopin’, The Hour I First Believed, I Know This Much is True, and She’s Come Undone and was twice selected for Oprah’s Book Club. Lamb also edited Couldn’t Keep It to Myself and I’ll Fly Away, two volumes of essays from students in his writing workshop at York Correctional Institution, a women’s prison in Connecticut, where he volunteered for 20 years. A sought-after keynote speaker, he has spoken at universities and colleges, libraries, arts and lecture venues, and literary festivals across the country.
Lamb’s first two novels, She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True, were # 1 New York Times bestsellers, New York Times Notable Books of the Year, and featured titles of Oprah’s Book Club. I Know This Much Is True was a Book of the Month Club main selection and the June 1999 featured selection of the Bertelsman Book Club, the national book club of Germany. Between them, She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True have been translated into 18 languages.
In May of 2020, I Know This Much Is True premiered on HBO as limited series based on the novel. Co-written and directed by Derek Cianfrance, the 6 episode series starred Mark Ruffalo in the roles of identical twin brothers Dominick and Thomas Birdsey.
Lamb’s third novel, The Hour I First Believed, explores chaos theory by interfacing several generations of a fictional Connecticut family with such nonfictional American events as the Civil War, the Columbine High School shootings, the Iraq War, and Hurricane Katrina. The book reached #4 on the New York Times bestseller list. In 2009, Lamb published Wishin’ and Hopin’, a comedic look at the year 1964 through the eyes of Felix Funicello, a parochial school fifth grader and a distant cousin of the iconic Annette. Wishin’ and Hopin’, too, was a New York Times bestseller. Lamb’s fifth novel, We Are Water, is an intricate, multi-voiced account of a New England family coming to terms with the past and one another during the first years of the Obama presidency. I’ll Take You there, his sixth novel, returns to the story of Felix Funicello, now a 60 year-old film professor visited by ghosts of Hollywood’s past.
Wally Lamb is also the editor of the nonfiction anthologies Couldn’t Keep It to Myself: Testimonies from Our Imprisoned Sisters , I’ll Fly Away, and You Don’t Know Me; collections of autobiographical essays which evolved from a writing workshop Lamb facilitated at Connecticut’s York Correctional Institute, a maximum-security prison for women. He served as a Connecticut Department of Corrections volunteer for 20 years, and his work there was the focus of a 2004 segment on CBS-TV’s Sixty Minutes.
Wally Lamb has said of his fiction, “Although my characters’ lives don’t much resemble my own, what we share is that we are imperfect people seeking to become better people. I write fiction so that I can move beyond the boundaries and limitations of my own experiences and better understand the lives of others. That’s also why I teach. As challenging as it sometimes is to balance the two vocations, writing and teaching are, for me, intertwined.”
Honors for Wally Lamb include a National Endowment for the Arts grant, the Connecticut Center for the Book’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Connecticut Bar Association’s Distinguished Public Service Award, the Barnes and Noble “Writers for Writers” Award, the Connecticut Governor’s Arts Award, The National Institute of Business/Apple Computers “Thanks To Teachers” award, and the 2010 Arts and Letters award from the YMCA of New York City. Lamb has received Distinguished Alumni awards from Vermont College and the University of Connecticut. He was the 1999 recipient of the New England Book Award for fiction. I Know This Much Is True won the Friends of the Library USA Readers’ Choice Award for best novel of 1998, the result of a national poll, and the Kenneth Johnson Memorial Book Award, which honored the novel’s contribution to the anti-stigmatization of mental illness. She’s Come Undone was a 1992 “Top Ten” Book of the Year selection in People magazine and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Best First Novel of 1992. I’ll Fly Away was a 2008 Connecticut Book Award Winner for non-fiction.
Wally Lamb is a Connecticut native who holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in teaching from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing Degree from Vermont College. Lamb was in the ninth year of his twenty-five year career as a high school English teacher at his alma mater, the Norwich Free Academy, when he began to write fiction in 1981. He was also an Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut, where he directed the English Department’s creative writing program.
Wally Lamb and his wife Christine live in northeastern Connecticut and in New York City and are the parents of three sons.Read More
I’ll Take You There
Purchase Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound Powell’s Against a kaleidoscopic convergence of Hollywood iconography and one family’s shared secrets, I’ll Take You There tells a deeply affecting, generations-spanning story of one man’s life—and of the remarkable women who impacted it. Lamb’s stunning new novel stands as a testament to the power of family, the resilience of love, and the enduring magic of movies. Metabook, the title’s original publisher, will release I’ll Take You There as a multimedia app for iPad and iPhone on November 20, 2016. In addition to the full text of the novel, the I’ll Take You There Metabook will include a full-cast audio dramatization of the book, an original soundtrack, short films, 360° galleries, shareable images and more. HarperCollins will release the novel in hardcover, eBook, audiobook, and large...
We Are Water
Purchase Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound Powell’s We Are Water is a disquieting and ultimately uplifting novel about a marriage, a family, and human resilience in the face of tragedy, from Wally Lamb, the New York Times bestselling author of The Hour I First Believed and I Know This Much Is True. After 27 years of marriage and three children, Anna Oh—wife, mother, outsider artist—has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her success. They plan to wed in the Oh family’s hometown of Three Rivers in Connecticut. But the wedding provokes some very mixed reactions and opens a Pandora’s Box of toxic secrets—dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs’ lives. We Are Water is a...
Wishin’ and Hopin’: A Christmas Story
Purchase Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound Powell’s It’s 1964 and ten-year-old Felix is sure of a few things: the birds and the bees are puzzling, television is magical, and this is one Christmas he’ll never forget. LBJ and Lady Bird are in the White House, Meet the Beatles is on everyone’s turntable, and Felix Funicello (distant cousin of the iconic Annette ) is doing his best to navigate fifth grade–easier said than done when scary movies still give you nightmares and you bear a striking resemblance to a certain adorable cartoon boy. Back in his beloved fictional town of Three Rivers, Connecticut, with a new cast of endearing characters, Wally Lamb takes his readers straight into the halls of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School–where Mother Filomina’s word...
The Hour I First Believed
Purchase Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound Powell’s Wally Lamb’s two previous novels, She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True, struck a chord with readers. They responded to the intensely introspective nature of the books, and to their lively narrative styles and biting humor. One critic called Wally Lamb a modern-day Dostoevsky, whose characters struggle not only with their respective pasts, but with a mocking, sadistic God in whom they don’t believe but to whom they turn, nevertheless, in times of trouble (New York Times). In his new novel, The Hour I First Believed, Lamb travels well beyond his earlier work and embodies in his fiction myth, psychology, family history stretching back many generations, and the questions of faith that lie at the heart of...
I’ll Fly Away: Further Testimonies from the Women of York Prison
Purchase Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound Powell’s In 2003 Wally Lamb–the author of two of the most beloved novels of our time, She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True–published Couldn’t Keep It to Myself, a collection of essays by the students in his writing workshop at the maximum-security York Correctional Institution, Connecticut’s only prison for women. Writing, Lamb discovered, was a way for these women to confront painful memories, face their fears and their failures, and begin to imagine better lives. The New York Times described the book as Gut-tearing tales . . . the unvarnished truth. The Los Angeles Times said of it, Lying next to and rising out of despair, hope permeates this book. Now Lamb returns with I’ll Fly Away, a...
Couldn’t Keep It To Myself: Testimonies from Our Imprisoned Sisters
Purchase Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound Powell’s In a stunning work of insight and hope, New York Times bestselling author Wally Lamb once again reveals his unmatched talent for finding humanity in the lost and lonely and celebrates the transforming power of the written word. For several years, Lamb has taught writing to a group of women prisoners at York Correctional Institution in Connecticut. In this unforgettable collection, the women of York describe in their own words how they were imprisoned by abuse, rejection, and their own self-destructive impulses long before they entered the criminal justice system. Yet these are powerful stories of hope and healing, told by writers who have left victimhood behind. In his moving introduction, Lamb describes the incredible journey of expression and self-awareness...
I Know This Much Is True
I Know This Much Is True is a novel by Wally Lamb, published in 1998. It was featured in Oprah’s Book Club in June 1998. The novel takes place in Three Rivers, Connecticut. Dominick Birdsey’s identical twin, Thomas, suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. With medication, he can function properly and work at a coffee stand, but occasionally he has severe episodes of his illness. Thinking he is making a sacrificial protest that will stop the war in the Middle East, Thomas cuts off his own hand in a public library. Dominick sees him through the ensuing decision not to attempt to reattach the hand, and makes efforts on his behalf to free him from what he knows to be an inadequate and depressing hospital for the dangerous mentally...