“The storytelling gift is innate: one has it or one doesn't. But style is at least partly a learned thing: one refines it by looking and listening and reading and practice - by work.” – Donna Tartt
1963, Tartt is a writer whose pace is something I like to point to when
talking about my own – running to the “slow and steady wins the race”
type. That translates into about a book
every 10 years with a few short stories and essays sprinkled in between.
Her novel The Little Friend, released in 2003, won the WH Smith Literary Award, and her 2013 book The Goldfinch won The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction – not a bad track record. On top of that, she’s twice been named to Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” list.
A native of Mississippi, Tartt started writing as a first-year student at Ole Miss under the tutelage of fellow Mississippi author Barry Hannah, who was serving as Writer-in-Residence at the University. Struck by her enthusiasm and ability, he enrolled her in his Graduate writing class. Eventually she transferred to the renowned Bennington College (Vermont) writing program. Her experiences there, along with her vivid imagination, led to her best-selling first novel The Secret History in 1992.
“My novels aren't really generated
by a single conceptual spark,” she said.
a process of many different elements that come together unexpectedly over a long
period of time.”