Donna Tartt

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Donna Tartt
Born (1963-12-23) December 23, 1963 (age 50)
Greenwood, Mississippi
Occupation Fiction writer
Nationality American
Period 1992–present
Notable works The Secret History (1992)
The Little Friend (2002)
The Goldfinch (2013)
Notable awards WH Smith Literary Award (2003)
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2014)
Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction (2014)

Donna Tartt (born December 23, 1963) is an American writer and author of the novels The Secret History (1992), The Little Friend (2002), and The Goldfinch (2013).[1] Tartt won the WH Smith Literary Award for The Little Friend in 2003 and the Pulitzer Prize (Fiction) for The Goldfinch in 2014 and she was named to the TIME 100: The 100 Most Influential People [1] in 2014.

Early life[edit]

Tartt was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta, and raised in the nearby town of Grenada.

She enrolled in the University of Mississippi in 1981, and her writing caught the attention of Willie Morris while she was a freshman. Following a recommendation from Morris, Barry Hannah, then an Ole Miss Writer-in-Residence, admitted eighteen-year-old Tartt into his graduate short story course. "She was deeply literary," says Hannah. "Just a rare genius, really. A literary star."[2] Following the suggestion of Morris and others, she transferred to Bennington College in 1982, where she was friends with fellow students Bret Easton Ellis, Jill Eisenstadt, and Jonathan Lethem, and studying classics with Claude Fredericks. She dated Ellis for a while after sharing works in progress, The Secret History and Less Than Zero respectively.[3]


Other writing[edit]

As of 2002, Tartt was reportedly working on a retelling of the myth of Daedalus and Icarus for the Canongate Myth Series, a series of novellas in which ancient myths are re-imagined and re-written by contemporary authors.[4] In 2006, Donna Tartt's short story "The Ambush" was named to The Best American Short Stories.

Literary themes[edit]

A number of major recurring literary themes occur in Donna Tartt's novels. These include the themes of social class and social stratification, guilt, and aesthetic beauty. These themes are both present as important aspects of The Secret History and The Goldfinch.

Awards and honours[edit]


Short stories
  • “Tam-O'-Shanter”. The New Yorker April 19, 1993, p. 90.[12]
  • “A Christmas Pageant”. Harper’s 287.1723. December 1993, p. 45+.
  • “A Garter Snake”. GQ 65.5, May 1995, p. 89+.
  • “The Ambush”. The Guardian, June 25, 2005.
  • “Sleepytown: A Southern Gothic Childhood, with Codeine.” Harper’s 286, July 1992, p. 60-66.
  • “Basketball Season.” The Best American Sports Writing, edited and with an introduction by Frank Deford. Houghton Mifflin, 1993.
  • “Team Spirit: Memories of Being a Freshman Cheerleader for the Basketball Team.” Harper’s 288, April 1994, p. 37-40.
  • The Secret History
  • The Little Friend (abridgment)
  • True Grit (with afterword expressing her love of the novel)
  • Winesburg, Ohio (selection)


  1. ^ Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke (12 February 2013). "Donna Tartts long awaited third novel will be published this year". The New York Observer. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Lacey Galbraith (Winter 2004). "Interview: Barry Hannah, The Art of Fiction No 184". The Paris Review. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "''Independent'': "Whatever happened to Donna Tartt?"". Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  5. ^ Kirsten Reach (January 14, 2014). "NBCC finalists announced". Melville House Publishing. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  6. ^ Admin (January 14, 2014). "Announcing the National Book Critics Awards Finalists for Publishing Year 2013". National Book Critics Circle. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  7. ^ Mark Brown (7 April 2014). "Donna Tartt heads Baileys women's prize for fiction 2014 shortlist". The Guardian. Retrieved April 11, 2014. 
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  12. ^ Tartt, Donna (1993-04-19). "Fiction: Tam-O'-Shanter" (abstract). The New Yorker. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 


External links[edit]