Foer started writing his first novel, the critically acclaimed Everything is Illuminated, as part of his senior thesis at Princeton University, New Jersey.
The New Yorker magazine included Foer on its list of “20 Under 40,” young writers who were world-changers.
Foer became a vegetarian activist and wrote a satiric piece about cooking and eating dogs.
It’s impossible not to notice the similarities between the characters Oskar Schell (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) and Oskar Matzerath, the protagonist of Gunter Grass’s The Tin Drum. They’re both intelligent kids of German descent coping with trauma (Oskar M. never leaves home without his drum) who conjure up fantasies to deal with the horrible events they’ve witnessed. Foer was hugely influenced by this novel.
Jonathan Safran Foer gave the 2013 commencement address at Middlebury College in Vermont. NPR included it on its list of “The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever.” Below, is the video of that speech: