Annie Dillard biography

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Annie Dillard
Photo: Phyllis Rose

Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard Biography

Annie Dillard has written several books, including the memoir of her parents, An American Childhood; the Northwest pioneer epic The Living; and the nonfiction narrative Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. A gregarious recluse, she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

She was born in April 1945 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Best known for her narrative nonfiction, she has also published poetry, essays, literary criticism, autobiography and fiction. She is married to the historical biography Robert D Richardson Jr (award-winning and bestselling author of biographies on luminaries such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and William James).

Dillard's childhood is described in detail in her 1987 memoir, An American Childhood. She is the oldest of three daughters of affluent and nonconformist parents who encouraged humor, exploration and creativity. She studied literature and creative writing at Hollins College in Virginia, and married her writing teacher, the poet R.H. Dillard, who "taught her everything she knows" about writing.

She graduated with a Masters in English in 1968. After a near-fatal bout of pneumonia in 1971 she spent four seasons living near Tinker Creek in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Roanoke, Virginia, where she wrote Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (perhaps inspired by Thoreau's Walden, which was her thesis topic).

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975. After which she wrote a number of narrative essays in a similar style before writing her first novel, The Living (1992), which grew out of a story she wrote fifteen years before. Published fifteen years after The Living, The Maytrees is her second novel.



Partial Bibliography

Tickets for a Prayer Wheel (1974, poems)
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1974, nonfiction narrative)
Holy the Firm (1977, nonfiction narrative)
Living by Fiction (1982, non-fiction narrative)
Teaching a Stone to Talk (1982, narrative essays)
Encounters with Chinese Writers (1984, nonfiction narrative)
An American Childhood (1987, memoir)
The Writing Life (1989, non-fiction narrative)
The Living (1992, novel)
Mornings Like This (1995, poems)
For the Time Being (1999, non-fiction narrative)
The Maytrees (2007, fiction)
The Abundance (2016)

Annie Dillard's website

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The Maytrees jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Annie Dillard but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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  • Joan Didion

    Joan Didion

    Joan Didion was born in Sacramento, CA in 1934, the daughter of an officer in the Army Air Corps. A shy, bookish child, Didion spent her teenage years typing out Ernest Hemingway stories to learn how sentences work. She ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Maytrees

    Try:
    The Year of Magical Thinking
    by Joan Didion

  • Jane Gardam

    Jane Gardam

    Novelist Jane Gardam was born Jean Mary Pearson in Coatham, North Yorkshire on July 11, 1928. She was educated at Saltburn High School for Girls and won a scholarship to the University of London, where she read English at ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Maytrees

    Try:
    The Man in the Wooden Hat
    by Jane Gardam

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