Ann Patchett : biography
Ann Patchett (born December 2, 1963) is an American author. She received the Orange Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 2002 for her novel Bel Canto. Patchett’s other novels include Run, The Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, State of Wonder, and The Magician’s Assistant, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and received the Nashville Banner Tennessee Writer of the Year Award in 1994.
Patchett was born in Los Angeles, California. Her mother is the novelist Jeanne Ray.
She moved to Nashville, Tennessee when she was six, where she continues to live. Patchett said she loves her home in Nashville with her doctor husband and dog. If asked if she could go any place, that place would always be home. "Home is …the stable window that opens out into the imagination.:
Patchett attended high school at St. Bernard Academy, a private, non-parochial Catholic school for girls run by the Sisters of Mercy. Following graduation, she attended Sarah Lawrence College and took fiction writing classes with Allan Gurganus, Russell Banks, and Grace Paley. She later attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where she met longtime friend Elizabeth McCracken. It was also there that she wrote her first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars.
In 2010, when she found that her hometown of Nashville no longer had a good book store, she co-founded Parnassus Books with Karen Hayes; the store opened in November 2011. In 2012, Patchett was on the Time 100 list of most influential people in the world by TIME magazine.
Awards and honors
- Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize (Taft)
- PEN/Faulkner Award (Bel Canto)
- Orange Prize (Bel Canto)
- BookSense Book of the Year (Bel Canto)
- National Book Critics Circle Award finalist (Bel Canto)
- 2011: Wellcome Trust Book Prize shortlist (State of Wonder)
Patchett’s first published work was in The Paris Review, where she published a story before she graduated from Sarah Lawrence College.
For nine years, Patchett worked at Seventeen magazine, where she wrote primarily non-fiction and the magazine published one of every five articles she wrote. She said that the magazine was cruel and eventually she stopped taking criticism personally. She ended her relationship with the magazine after getting into a dispute with an editor and exclaiming, "I’ll never darken your door again!"
Patchett has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, O, The Oprah Magazine, ELLE, GQ, Gourmet, and Vogue.
In 1992, Patchett published The Patron Saint of Liars. The novel was made into a movie of the same title in 1998. Her second novel Taft won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize in fiction in 1994. Her third novel, The Magician’s Assistant, was released in 1997. In 2001, her fourth novel Bel Canto was her breakthrough, becoming a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist and winning the PEN/Faulkner Award.
A friend of writer Lucy Grealy, Patchett has written a memoir about their relationship, Truth and Beauty: A Friendship. Patchett’s novel, Run, was released in October 2007. What now?, published in April 2008, is an essay based on a commencement speech she delivered at her alma mater in 2006.
Patchett is the editor of the 2006 volume of the anthology series The Best American Short Stories. In 2011 she published State of Wonder, a novel set in the Amazon jungle.