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Annie Dillard

Born Annie Doak in 1945, spent her childhood in the affluent Pittsburgh neighborhood of Point Breeze in a family of eccentrics: father once quit his job to float down the Mississippi, mother would accost strangers on the street claiming Annie was their illegitimate daughter. Studied English, theology and creative writing at Hollins College in Roanoke, Va. and married her writing teacher, R.H.W. Dillard (10 years her senior) while just a sophomore. In 1971 a near-fatal bout of pneumonia prompted her to spend four years living in a cabin in the Virginia wilderness. The result of this self-imposed isolation was the critically acclaimed neo-naturalist masterpiece Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, which won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Literature (non-fiction). Married Gary Clevidence and moved to Cape Cod in 1980 while teaching at Wesleyan University. Published numerous essays and collections during this time, including Teaching a Stone to Talk, The Writing Life and the memoir An American Childhood about growing up in Pittsburgh. Married her third husband, writer Robert Richardson, Jr., in 1989. Published first novel, We The Living, in 1992 and has spent the last fifteen years teaching and writing poetry, essays and literary criticism. Has been hailed as “One of the most distinctive voices in American letters today.”