Tracy Chevalier biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Tracy Chevalier

Tracy Chevalier

Tracy Chevalier Biography

Tracy Chevalier was born in Washington, DC but has lived in England all her adult life. She now has dual citizenship. She has a BA in English from Oberlin College, Ohio and an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England. She lives in London with her English husband and son. Before turning to writing full-time, she was a reference book editor for several years. She has written 7 novels. Her second novel, Girl with a Pearl Earring, won the Barnes and Noble Discover Award, sold 4 million copies worldwide, and was made into a film starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson.

Tracy Chevalier's website

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Interview

An interview with Tracy Chevalier in which she discusses how 17th century paintings aided in her research for Girl With A Pearl Earring, why she chose Vermeer’s work to write about, and how most of the characters’ looks are based on people in Vermeer’s other paintings.

Everyday life in 17th century Delft is so vivid in Girl with a Pearl Earring. How did you conduct your research? Where?
Most of it, I confess, was done in my armchair. I read a lot (especially Simon Schama's The Embarrassment Of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in The Golden Age) and looked at a lot of paintings. Luckily 17th-century Dutch paintings are mainly scenes from everyday life and so it was easy to see what houses looked like inside and how they were run. I also went to Delft for four days and just wandered around, taking it in. Vermeer's house no longer exists, but there are plenty of 17th-century buildings still left, as well as the Market Square, the Meat Hall, the canals and bridges. It's not hard to get an idea of what it was like then.

Little is known of Vermeer's life—at least compared with other Baroque painters like Rembrandt. Why did you choose Vermeer's work to write about?
I chose Vermeer's work because it is so beautiful and so mysterious. In his paintings, the solitary women going about their domestic tasks—pouring milk, reading letters, weighing gold, putting on a necklace—inhabit a world that we are getting a secret glimpse at. And because it...

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Books by this Author

Books by Tracy Chevalier at BookBrowse
New Boy jacket At the Edge of the Orchard jacket The Last Runaway jacket Remarkable Creatures jacket
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Tracy Chevalier 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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  • Peter Ackroyd

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    Novelist, biographer, and poet Peter Ackroyd was born in London on October 5, 1949.

    He graduated from Clare College, Cambridge, and studied at Yale University as a Mellon Fellow, where he completed Notes for a New Culture: ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Remarkable Creatures

    Try:
    The Lambs of London
    by Peter Ackroyd

  • Chloe Aridjis

    Chloe Aridjis

    Chloe Aridjis was born in New York and grew up in the Netherlands and Mexico. She received her PhD in nineteenth-century French poetry and magic shows from Oxford, then lived in Berlin for five years. Her first novel, Book of... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Girl With A Pearl Earring

    Try:
    Asunder
    by Chloe Aridjis

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