Dillard, Annie

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Dillard, Annie

Annie Dillard, 1945–, American writer, b. Pittsburgh, Pa., as Meta Ann Doak, grad. Hollins College (B.A., 1967; M.A., 1968). She has taught writing at Western Washington Univ. and Wesleyan Univ. The work that brought her literary acclaim, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1974; Pulitzer Prize), is a collection of narrative essays reminiscent of Thoreau that mingles evocative descriptions of Virginia's Blue Ridge landscape and its resident creatures with a gentle mysticism. Her other essay collections include Holy the Firm (1978) and Teaching a Stone to Talk (1982). Dillard has also written several books that explore the nature of writing and writers, Living by Fiction (1982), Encounters with Chinese Writers (1984), and The Writing Life (1989). The precision of diction, love of the natural world, and taste for the transcendent that characterize her essays also mark her novels: The Living (1992), an epic of Native Americans, settlers, and immigrants in the late 19th-century Pacific Northwest, and The Maytrees (2007), a story of an artist couple on mid-20th-century Cape Cod. Dillard's two volumes of poetry are Tickets for a Prayer Wheel (1974) and Mornings like This: Found Poems (1995). The Abundance (2016) is her selection of her essays, some retitled and revised.

See The Annie Dillard Reader (1994); her memoir, An American Childhood (1987); studies by L. L. Smith (1991), S. H. Johnson (1992), and N. C. Parrish (1998).

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