Terri Jentz is the author of Strange Piece of Paradise, a finalist in 2006 for the National Book Critics Circle Award, a Los Angeles Times Book Award, and an Edgar Allan Poe Award in mystery writing. A blend of investigative journalism, memoir, detective story, travelogue, and philosophical meditation, the book is the story of Jentz's investigation into the unsolved attempted murder against her and her college roommate in the Oregon desert in 1977. A uniquely American story and also a universal inquiry into the nature of violence and trauma, community and social interconnection, Strange Piece of Paradise has garnered much attention abroad and is currently being translated into six languages. Jentz is at work adapting the book into a feature film.
Dedicated to ending the violent expression of misogyny, Jentz supports The Feminist Majority and works with Equality Now, an international human rights organization that aims to abolish violence against women in all its forms. She advocates for the necessity of justice as a vital component of peace in an essay she wrote for an anthology, “Transforming Terror: Remembering the Soul of the World,” to be published in 2008.
Jentz is committed to shocking people into sanity about any number of issues and is particularly keen to plunge into probing investigations, currently in the area of how humanity perpetrates violence against other species and the environment. She is committed to moving beyond the limits of what people have known before, or what people have been willing to acknowledge—to expose lies and disturb the easy peace of received opinion.
Jentz received a BA in English literature from Yale University and pursued a career in magazine journalism and screenwriting in New York City before moving to Southern California.