Strout, who was born this day in 1956, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Olive Kitteridge, one of my favorite collections of short stories (and a great HBO mini-series, that I also loved).
Of course that’s not all this gifted New Englander has produced since she had her first short story published in 1982. A small town product (mostly growing up in New Hampshire and Maine), where her father was a science professor, and her mother – who she said was a great inspiration for her writing – taught high school.
I feel an affinity for Strout not only for the “growing up in a small town” connection, but also her slow and steady writing style (4 novels in 30 years with a 5th on the way), something with which I can strongly associate. On top of that, she is a Bates College grad, the alma mater for my oldest daughter.
Strout has spent most of her adult (and writing) years in New York City, although she and husband James Tierney split their time between NYC and Maine, where he is the former Attorney General. Her short stories and nonfiction pieces have been published in everything from literary magazines to Redbook and Seventeen.
“I'm writing for my ideal reader, for somebody who's willing to take the time, who's willing to get lost in a new world, who's willing to do their part,” she said of her award-winning work. “But then I have to do my part and give them a sound and a voice that they believe in enough to keep going.”
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