Patchett, Ann

Patchett, Ann,

1963–, American author, b. Los Angeles, B.A. Sarah Lawrence College, 1984, M.F.A Univ. of Iowa, 1987. In her twenties, she was a writer at Seventeen magazine, wrote freelance essays for other publications, and became known for her short stories. Primarily a novelist, Patchett is known for her diversity of plot, setting, and character, her storytelling abilities, and her penchant for putting characters in unexpectedly strange, stressful, and often exotic situations. Her first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars (1992), related by three narrators, tells of a young married woman who, on becoming pregnant, goes to a home for unwed mothers, has her baby, and decides to live there. Her breakthrough novel, Bel Canto (2001), is the story of the kidnapping by terrorists of glamorous birthday party guests, notably a famous opera singer, at a South American embassy; the bestseller was awarded the PEN/Faulkner prize and Britain's Orange prize. Her other novels are Taft (1994), The Magician's Assistant (1997), Run (2007), State of Wonder (2011), and Commonwealth (2016). Patchett's nonfiction works include Truth and Beauty (2004), a memoir of her friendship with the late writer Lucy Grealy, and This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage (2013), an essay collection.