Inspire A Friend—With Annie Dillard

A schedule defends from chaos and whim.

People Who Kick Buts: Vida Scudder

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A schedule defends from chaos and whim.

  • Born on April 30, 1945
  • A Pulitzer Prize-winning American author, best known for her narrative prose in both fiction and non-fiction. She has published two novels, poetry, essays, prose, literary criticism, and a memoir.
  • Early childhood details can be drawn from Annie Dillard’s autobiography, An American Childhood (1987), about growing up in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Pittsburgh. It starts in 1950 when she was five. Like Russell Baker’s Growing Up, Dillard’s memoir An American Childhood focuses on her parents and some of her intellectual enthusiasms rather than on herself. She grew up in Pittsburgh in the fifties in “a house full of comedians.” She describes her mother as an energetic non-conformist. Her father taught her many useful subjects such as plumbing, economics, and the intricacies of the novel On The Road.
  • Dillard attended Hollins College (now Hollins University), in Roanoke, Virginia, where she studied literature and creative writing. She married her writing teacher, the poet R. H. W. Dillard, the person who, she says, “taught her everything she knows” about writing. Richard Dillard and Annie married in 1965 and 6 years later moved out of Tinkerview apartments to a house near Hollins College. In 1968 she earned an MA in English. Her thesis on Thoreau showed how Walden Pond functioned as “the central image and focal point for Thoreau’s narrative movement between heaven and earth.”
  • After college Dillard says she became “spiritually promiscuous.” Her first prose book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, makes references not only to Christ and the Bible, but also to Judaism, Buddhism, Sufism, and even Eskimo spirituality. Dillard converted briefly to Roman Catholicism, and during that time she won the Campion Award, given to a Catholic writer every year by the editors of America.
  • AnnieDillaard.com

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