Ann Packer (author)
Ann Packer at the 2008 Texas Book Festival.
|Occupation||novelist, short story writer|
Ann Packer (born 1959) is an American novelist and short story writer, perhaps best known for her critically acclaimed first novel The Dive From Clausen's Pier. She is the recipient of a James Michener Award and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.
Her mother was a student of the historian/novelist Wallace Stegner at the Stanford Writing Program; Nancy Packer later joined the Stanford faculty as professor of English and creative writing. Her father was on the faculty of Stanford Law School, where he highlighted the tensions between Due Process and Crime Control. In 1969, when Ann was 10 years old, he suffered a stroke that paralyzed the right side of his body. He committed suicide three years later.
Her uncle, George Huddleston, Jr., and her grandfather, George Huddleston, Sr., were congressmen from Alabama. Her brother, George Packer, is a novelist, journalist, and playwright. Her father was Jewish and her mother was from a Christian background.
Packer currently lives in Northern California with her two children.
Packer was an English major at Yale University, but only began writing fiction during her senior year. She moved to New York after college and took a job writing paperback cover copy at Ballantine Books. She attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop from 1986 to 1988, selling her first short story to The New Yorker a few weeks before receiving her M.F.A. degree.
In 1988 Packer moved to Madison, Wisconsin as a fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. During her two years in Wisconsin she published stories in literary magazines, including the story "Babies", which was included in the 1992 O. Henry Award prize stories collection. The New Yorker story, "Mendocino", became the title story of her first book, Mendocino and Other Stories, published by Chronicle Books in 1994.
Packer spent almost 10 years writing The Dive From Clausen's Pier. Geri Thoma of the Elaine Markson Agency agreed to take on the book and sold it almost immediately to the editor Jordan Pavlin at Alfred A. Knopf. It was the first selection of the Good Morning America “Read This!” book club and received a Great Lakes Book Award, an American Library Association Award, and the Kate Chopin Literary Award. Ann’s second novel, Songs Without Words, is also published by Knopf. In addition to fiction, Packer has written essays for Vogue and Real Simple magazines.
The Dive from Clausen's Pier was adapted into a cable television film, which was not well received by fans of the novel. Among its difficulties were making the characters much younger than they were in the novel.
- Mendocino and other Stories (First published 1994; 2003 edition by Vintage Books ISBN 978-1-4000-3163-4)
- The Dive From Clausen's Pier (novel) (2002) Alfred A. Knopf ISBN 978-1-4000-4032-2
- Songs Without Words (2007) Alfred A. Knopf ISBN 978-0-375-41281-3
- Swim Back to Me (2011) Alfred A. Knopf ISBN 978-1-4000-4404-7
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This list is taken from Ann Packer's official website.
- “Out in the World,” published in the Writing Life feature of The Washington Post, October 31, 2004.
- “The Preppy Look,” published in the Nostalgia feature of Vogue, November, 2004.
- “Her Firstborn,” published in Before: Short Stories About Pregnancy from our Top Writers, Emily Franklin and Heather Swain, editors.
- “My Life in Food” published in Death by Pad Thai and Other Unforgettable Meals, Douglas Bauer, editor. This essay was also published, in an abridged form, in the Life Lessons feature of Real Simple, November, 2006.
- “Things said or Done” published in Zoetrope: All Story, Summer 2010.
- Ann Packer at Vintage Books
- Ann Packer Official Website
- Stanford Creative Writing Program
- The University of Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing fellowships
Notes and references
- Benson, Heidi. "Thicker Than Water", San Francisco Chronicle, 2005-10-27. Retrieved on 2008-07-16.
- Rich, Motoko. "Dark Themes Cloaked in Everyday Detail", The New York Times, 2007-09-03. Retrieved on 2008-07-16.