Alice McDermott was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1953. Her first
novel, A Bigamists' Daughter, was published to wide acclaim in 1982.
That Night (1987), her second novel, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize,
the National Book Award, and for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. In his
cover review for The New York Times Book Review, David Leavitt called
That Night "an original, a work that revels in a rich, discursive prose
style that belongs entirely to Alice McDermott." A film version of That Night
was produced by Warner Bros. and released in the spring of 1992. At Weddings
and Wakes (1992), her third novel, became a New York Times
bestseller. Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times praised McDermott's
"rich, supple prose" and Bruce Bawer called At Weddings and Wakes "a
haunting and masterly work of literary art" in his review for The Wall Street
Charming Billy (1998), won the National Book Award. It tells the tragic story of the late Billy Lynch within the complex matrix of a tightly knit Irish American community. The New York Times Book Review praised the book as "eloquent" and "heartbreaking," and Kirkus Reviews called it "a softly resonant and nostalgic tale told masterfully. . ." Ms. McDermott's other books include Child of My Heart and After This.
Ms. McDermott received her B.A. in 1975 from the State University of New York at Oswego, and her M.A. in 1978 from the University of New Hampshire. She has taught at the University of California at San Diego and American University, has been a writer-in-residence at Lynchburg and Hollins Colleges in Virginia, and was lecturer in English at the University of New Hampshire. Her short stories have appeared in Ms., Redbook, Mademoiselle, and Seventeen.
The recipient of a Whiting Writers Award, Ms. McDermott is currently writer-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She lives outside Washington, with her husband, a neuroscientist, and three children.
This biography was last updated on 06/11/2011.
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