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Ann Patchett biography

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Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett Biography

Ann Patchett was born in Los Angeles in 1963 and raised in Nashville. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. In 1990, she won a residential fellowship to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where she wrote her first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars. It was named a New York Times Notable Book for 1992. In 1993, she received a Bunting Fellowship from the Mary Ingrahm Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College. Patchett's second novel, Taft, was awarded the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for the best work of fiction in 1994. Her third novel, The Magician's Assistant, was short-listed for England's Orange Prize and earned her a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Her next novel, Bel Canto, won both the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in 2002, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. It was named the Book Sense Book of the Year. It sold over a million copies in the United States and has been translated into thirty languages. In 2004, Patchett published Truth & Beauty, a memoir of her friendship with the writer Lucy Grealy. It was named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Entertainment Weekly. Truth & Beauty was also a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and won the Chicago Tribune's Heartland Prize, the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Alex Award from the American Library Association. Patchett is also the author of Run, What Now?, and State of Wonder.

She was the editor for Best American Short Stories 2006.

Patchett has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times Magazine, Harper's Magazine, The Atlantic, the Washington Post, Gourmet, and Vogue. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, Karl VanDevender.   Her mother is the author Jeanne Ray, a former nurse and now bestselling novelist of books such as Julie and Romeo, Step-Ball-Change and Eat Cake.

Link to Ann's website

This biography was last updated on 07/23/2011.

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Interview

A Conversation with Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto

What inspired you to write this novel?
Usually it's hard to pin down the exact point at which you come up with an idea for a novel but this one is easy: December 17th, 1996, the night that the terrorist organization Tupac Amaru took over the Japanese embassy in Lima, Peru. I'm sure I didn't know that day that this story would turn into Bel Canto, but I was completely focused on it from the start. It had so many elements that were compelling to me: confinement, survival, the construction of family. For a long time I'd wanted to find a way to experience the things I read about in the paper, to grieve for disasters that had no immediate affect on my life. Turning a tragedy I knew nothing about into this novel was part of that process.

Were you an opera aficionado prior to writing Bel Canto?
I wasn't. I knew as much about opera as I did about baseball, which is to say nothing. But once I came up with the character of Roxane Coss I threw myself into learning about it whole-heartedly. The best thing I did was to buy a book called Opera 101 by Fred Plotkin. It tells you how to listen and what to listen to. It takes you through everything you need ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Ann Patchett at BookBrowse
This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage jacket State of Wonder jacket Run jacket Truth and Beauty jacket
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Ann Patchett 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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  • Amy Bloom

    Amy Bloom

    Amy Bloom, a psychotherapist for more than 20 years, is the author of two novels and three collections of short stories, and a nominee for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Run

    Try:
    Away
    by Amy Bloom

  • Carolina De Robertis

    Carolina De Robertis

    Carolina De Robertis is the author of Perla and The Invisible Mountain, which was an international bestseller translated into fifteen languages, the recipient of Italy's Rhegium Julii Prize, and a Best Book of 2009 according ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Bel Canto

    Try:
    The Invisible Mountain
    by Carolina De Robertis

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