After selling her first story to the Paris Review while still in college, Ann Patchett was steadily publishing her poignant, award-winning novels by her early 20s. In fact, her first novel sold 24 hours after it had been sent out. From the fantastical Bel Canto to the heartrending memoir Truth and Beauty, Patchett's precocious beginnings have blossomed into a major literary career.
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Ann Patchett at Barnes & Noble.
Date of Birth:
December 2, 1963
Place of Birth:
Los Angeles, California
B.A., Sarah Lawrence College, 1985; M.F.A., University of Iowa, 1987
Guggenheim Fellowship, 1995; PEN/Faulkner Award, 2002; Orange Prize, 2002
Ann Patchett's official web site
|Patchett's Latest||Published Works|
It's a winter evening in Boston and the temperature has drastically dropped as a blizzard approaches the city. On this fateful night, Bernard Doyle plans to meet his two adopted sons at a Harvard auditorium to hear a speech given by Jesse Jackson. Doyle, an Irish Catholic and former Boston mayor, has done his best to keep his two sons interested in politics. Though the two boys are African-American, the bonds of the family's love have never been tested. But as the snow begins to falls, an accident triggers into motion a series of events that will forever change their lives.
The Patron Saint of Liars (1992)|
The Magician's Assistant (1997)
Bel Canto (P. S. Series) (2001)
Truth and Beauty: A Friendship (2004)
Ann Patchett chronology
|The Best Book to Read First|
|The Magician's Assistant|
With an innate talent for switching voices, each of Patchett’s books is different from the next. But if you’re new to her eclectic collection, go ahead and read The Magician’s Assistant first. Patchett’s vibrant, graceful characters include a gay magician, his devoted assistant (who is also his wife), and the family she never knew he had until after his death. It’s a classic love story with a modern sensibility.
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|A Friend to the End|
|Patchett met Lucy Grealy in college in 1981, when the two aspiring authors were about to attend the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop together. It was then that they kicked off a friendship that would be as important to them as their writing. In her acclaimed memoir, Autobiography of a Face, Grealy wrote about how losing part of her jaw to childhood cancer and the endless reconstructive surgeries affected her sense of self. Of course, Patchett contributed the foreword.|
|An Early Inspiration||Favorite Writers and Reads|
In our exclusive interview, Patchett recalls how reading Saul Bellow's Humboldt's Gift as a teen inspired her: "I found Bellow’s directness very moving," she reflects. "The book seemed so intelligent and unpretentious. I wanted to write like that book."
|The Human Stain|
We asked Patchett to tell us about some of her all-time favorite books. Among them, she listed Lucy Grealy's memoir and Philip Roth's button-pushing bestseller The Human Stain. Read our interview to learn more about Patchett's favorite writers and reads, including:
|Photo by Tony Baker||