Becca Anderson, author of The Book of Awesome Women Writers, has written a new blog post on the life and career of the extraordinary author Donna Tartt.
Donna Louise Tartt, born in 1963 in Greenwood, Mississippi, is an American novelist particularly known for her debut novel, 1992’s The Secret History,
and her third book, The Goldfinch (2013), which won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Tartt grew up as a bookish child in the small town of Grenada, Mississippi. When she was only five years old, she wrote her first poem, and at thirteen years of age, she wrote a sonnet which was published.
From 1981 to 1982, Tartt attended the University of Mississippi. Her writing soon impressed Mississippi writer Willie Morris. Morris recommended her work to Barry Hannah; at the time, Hannah was writer in residence at the university. Both writers encouraged her to gain wider experience, and in
1982, she transferred to Vermont’s Bennington College, where she befriended other budding writers, including Bret Easton Ellis, Jonathan Lethem, and Jill Eisenstadt, while completing a bachelor’s degree in 1986. It was there that Tartt began work on her first novel, The Secret History.
Tartt’s debut novel was set at a fictional Vermont college and was described as a “murder mystery in reverse,” in which the details of the murder were revealed in the early pages of the work. The book was on the New York Times bestseller list for three months. It was a decade before Tartt published her eagerly awaited second work, The Little Friend; set in the South, it follows a twelve-year-old girl in her quest to avenge the death of her brother. Its feel, setting, and plotline are just about the opposite of her first novel. The Little Friend won a WH Smith Literary Award in 2003.
Eleven years later, The Goldfinch was released. The title refers to a small but magnificent 1654 painting by the seventeenth century Dutch artist Carel Fabritius; the painting serves as the plot device driving the story. The work was a significant addition to literature concerning trauma and memory as well as a contemplative journey into art itself. The novel won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, with the Pulitzer jury acclaiming it as an eloquent coming-of-age story with superbly delineated characters in which a boy mourning a loss encounters a small yet famous painting that had managed to escape destruction. In addition to winning the Pulitzer, that same year, Tartt also won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction for The Goldfinch. Despite some critics’ dissent with the Pulitzer jury’s choice, The Goldfinch was adapted for the big screen as a major motion picture released in 2019 starring Nicole Kidman and Ansel Elgort.
The Book of awesome women writers
Medieval Mystics, Pioneering Poets, Fierce Feminists and First Ladies of Literature (Feminist Book, Gift for Women, Gift for Writers)
This one-of-a-kind tome takes a tour with Sylvia Beach and other booksellers as well as librarians, editors, writers, bibliophiles, and celebrated book clubs. Join women’s studies scholar Anders as she takes you on a ribald ride through the pages of history. Chapter titles include “Prolific Pens” (including Joyce Carol Oates, author of over 100 books), “Mystics, Memoirists and Madwomen”, “Salons and Neosalons”, “Ink in Their Veins” (literary dynasties), and the titillating “Banned, Blacklisted, and Arrested.”