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Ann Patchett
Patchett apeaks during the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. on December 2, 2023
Patchett apeaks during the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. on December 2, 2023
Born (1963-12-02) December 2, 1963 (age 60)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Novelist, memoirist
Alma mater Sarah Lawrence College
Period 1992–present
Genre Literary fiction
Notable works Bel Canto

Ann Patchett (born December 2, 1963) is an American author. She received the 2002 PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction in the same year, for her novel Bel Canto. Patchett's other novels include The Patron Saint of Liars (1992), Taft (1994), The Magician's Assistant (1997), Run (2007), State of Wonder (2011), Commonwealth (2016), and The Dutch House (2019). The Dutch House was a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.


Ann Patchett was born on December 2, 1963, in Los Angeles, California, to Frank Patchett (a Los Angeles police captain who arrested Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan) and Jeanne Ray (a nurse who later became a novelist). She is the younger of two daughters. Her mother and father divorced when she was young. Her mother remarried, and when Patchett was six years old the family moved to Nashville, Tennessee.

Patchett attended St. Bernard Academy, a private Catholic school for girls in Nashville, Tennessee run by the Sisters of Mercy. Following graduation, she attended Sarah Lawrence College.

After college, she attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, where she lived with the memoirist and poet Lucy Grealy. Their time as roommates and their life-long friendship was the subject of her 2004 memoir Truth & Beauty.

In her early twenties Patchett married; however, the marriage lasted only about a year.

In her late twenties, Patchett won a fellowship to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts; during her time there, she wrote her first novel The Patron Saint of Liars, which was published in 1992.

In 2010, she co-founded a bookstore with Karen Hayes, Parnassus Books, in Nashville, Tennessee, which opened in November 2011. In 2016, Parnassus Books expanded, adding a bookmobile to expand the reach of the bookstore in Nashville.

Patchett currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Karl VanDevender. It is Patchett’s second marriage.


Patchett, Ann MBFI
Patchett at the Miami Book Fair International 2014

Patchett's first published work was in The Paris Review, a story that appeared before she graduated from Sarah Lawrence College.

For nine years, Patchett worked at Seventeen magazine, where she wrote primarily non-fiction and the magazine published one of every five articles she wrote. She ended her relationship with the magazine after getting into a dispute with an editor and exclaiming, "I’ll never darken your door again!"

Patchett has written for numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, O, The Oprah Magazine, ELLE, GQ, Gourmet, and Vogue. In 1992, Patchett published The Patron Saint of Liars. The novel was made into a television movie of the same title in 1998. Her second novel Taft won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize in fiction in 1994. Her third novel, The Magician’s Assistant, was released in 1997. In 2001, her fourth novel Bel Canto was her breakthrough, becoming a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, and winning the PEN/Faulkner Award.

A friend of writer Lucy Grealy, Patchett has written a memoir about their relationship, Truth & Beauty: A Friendship. Patchett's novel, Run, was released in October 2007. What now?, published in April 2008, is an essay based on a commencement speech she delivered at her alma mater in 2006.

Patchett is the editor of the 2006 volume of the anthology series The Best American Short Stories. In 2011, she published State of Wonder, a novel set in the Amazon jungle, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. In 2016 she published her novel Commonwealth to widespread critical acclaim. Patchett called the book her "autobiographical first novel," explaining, “The wonderful thing about publishing this book at 52 is that I know that I am [already] capable of working from a place of deep imagination.”

In 2019, Patchett published her first children's book, Lambslide, and the novel The Dutch House, a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

In November 2021, she published These Precious Days, an essay collection she describes as the sequel to This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage. These Precious Days received wide acclaim, with review aggregator Book Marks rating it a “rave” based on 25 reviews. In 2023, Ann Patchett published a novel called Tom Lake, and it was ranked a The New York Times Best Sellers.

Her work has been translated into more than 30 languages.

Awards and honors

For specific works

  • Nashville Banner Tennessee Writer of the Year Award, 1994.
  • Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize (Taft), 1994.
  • National Book Critics Circle Award finalist (Bel Canto), 2001.
  • PEN/Faulkner Award (Bel Canto), 2002.
  • Orange Prize (Bel Canto), 2002.
  • BookSense Book of the Year (Bel Canto), 2003.
  • Wellcome Trust Book Prize shortlist (State of Wonder), 2011.

For corpus

  • Guggenheim Fellowship, 1995 (mid-career).
  • In 2012, Patchett was recognized on the Time 100 list as one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
  • Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award (body of work), 2014.
  • 2014 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement
  • American Academy of Arts and Letters, 2017

Published works


  • — (2019). The Dutch House. New York, NY: Harper. ISBN: 9780062963673.
  • — (2023). Tom Lake. New York, NY: Harper. ISBN: 9780063327528


See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Ann Patchett para niños

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