Amanda Eyre Ward was born in New York City in 1972. Her family moved to Rye,
New York when she was four. Amanda attended Kent School in Kent, CT, where she
wrote for the Kent News.
Amanda majored in English and American Studies at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. She studied fiction writing with Jim Shepard and spent her junior fall in coastal Kenya. She worked part-time at the Williamstown Public Library. After graduation, Amanda taught at Athens College in Greece for a year, and then moved to Missoula, Montana.
Amanda studied fiction writing at the University of Montana with Bill Kittredge, Dierdre McNamer, Debra Earling, and Kevin Canty, receiving her MFA. After traveling to Egypt, she took a job at the University of Montana Mansfield Library, working in Inter Library Loan.
In 1998, Amanda moved to Austin, Texas where she began working on Sleep Toward Heaven. She wrote for the Austin Chronicle and worked for a variety of Internet startups. In 1999, Amanda won third prize in the Austin Chronicle short story contest with her story Miss Montana's Wedding Day.
She published Butte as in Beautiful that same year.
In July, 2000, Amanda married the geologist Tip Meckel in Ouray, Colorado.
They spent a summer in New Orleans, Louisiana, where Amanda wrote the short stories The Beginning of the Wrong Novel and Classified.
During that summer, Amanda finished Sleep Toward Heaven, which was published in 2003. It won the Violet Crown Book Award and was optioned for film by Sandra Bullock and Fox Searchlight. To promote Sleep Toward Heaven, Amanda, her baby, and her mother Mary-Anne Westley traveled to London and Paris.
Amanda moved to Waterville, Maine, where she wrote in an attic filled with books. Amanda's second novel, How to Be Lost, was published in 2004. It was selected as a Target Bookmarked pick, and has been published in fifteen countries.
After one year in Maine and two years on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Amanda and her family returned to Austin, Texas.
To research her third novel, Forgive Me, Amanda traveled with her sister, Liza Ward Bennigson, to Cape Town, South Africa. Forgive Me was published in 2007.
Amanda's short story collection, Love Stories in This Town, was published in April 2009.
She currently writes every morning and spends afternoons with her two young boys.
From the author's website
This biography was last updated on 11/25/2013.
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Amanda Eyre Ward about the genesis of her short stories, including those collected in Love Stories in This Town, and how her writing style has evolved over the years.
Reproduced with the permission of Random House Reader's Circle.
Most of your readers know you as a novelist, but you have actually been a short-story writer for longer than you have been a novelist. Can you talk a little about how and when you first started writing stories?
I went to Williams College, where I signed up for Jim Shepard's Introductory Fiction Workshop. I showed up the first day to find the room packed. Jim (Professor Shepard to me then) told us we could submit one story, and he would choose the members of the small class and post a list on his office door. Many of the other students had folders of stories, neatly stapled, but although I was an avid reader, I had never written a story before. I was reading Denis Johnson and Raymond Carver at that time. I typed all night on my Brother word processor, creating a story about a speed-addled trucker on an all-night run. I think the trucker ended up in a "wall of flames." I wasn't hopeful, so I ...
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