December 23, 1963
|Notable work(s)||The Secret History (1992)
The Little Friend (2002)
|Notable award(s)||WH Smith Literary Award (2003)|
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). She won the WH Smith Literary Award for The Little Friend in 2003.
Early life 
The daughter of Don and Taylor Tartt, she was born in Greenwood, Mississippi and raised in the nearby town of Grenada. At age five, she wrote her first poem, and she was first published in a Mississippi literary review when she was 13.
Enrolling in the University of Mississippi in 1981, she pledged to the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma. 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 Tartt into his graduate short story course. Following the suggestion of Morris and others, she transferred to Bennington College in 1982, meeting then-students Bret Easton Ellis and Jill Eisenstadt and studying classics with Claude Fredericks.
The Secret History 
Tartt began writing her first novel, originally titled "The God of Illusions" and later published as The Secret History, during her second year at Bennington. She graduated from Bennington in 1986. After Ellis recommended her work to literary agent Amanda Urban, The Secret History was published in 1992, and sold out its original print-run of 75,000 copies, becoming a bestseller. It has been translated into 24 languages.
The Secret History is set at a fictional college and concerns a close-knit group of six students and their professor of classics. The students embark upon a secretive plan to stage a bacchanal. The narrator reflects on a variety of circumstances that lead ultimately to murder within the group.
The murder, the location and the perpetrators are revealed in the opening pages, upending the familiar framework and accepted conventions of the murder mystery genre. Critic A.O. Scott labelled it "a murder mystery in reverse."
The book was wrapped in a transparent acetate book jacket, a retro design by Barbara De Wilde and Chip Kidd. According to Kidd, "The following season acetate jackets sprang up in bookstores like mushrooms on a murdered tree."
The Little Friend 
The Little Friend, Tartt's second novel, was published in October 2002. It is a mystery centered on a young girl living in the American South in the late 20th century. Her implicit anxieties about the long-unexplained death of her brother and the dynamics of her extended family are a strong focus, as are the contrasting lifestyles and customs of small-town Southerners.
The Goldfinch 
In February 2013, the New York Observer announced that Tartt's long-awaited third novel, titled The Goldfinch, was set for publication on October 22, 2013 after originally being slated for publication in September 2008. The plot is described thus: "“A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and determined to avoid being taken in by the city as an orphan, Theo scrambles between nights in friends’ apartments and on the city streets,” Amazon’s description reads. “He becomes entranced by the one thing that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that soon draws Theo into the art underworld. Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America. It is a story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the enormous power of art”
Other writing 
In 2002, it was reported that Tartt was 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 reimagined and rewritten by contemporary authors.
Tartt has recorded several audiobooks:
- The Secret History
- The Little Friend (abridgment)
- True Grit (with afterword expressing her love of the novel)
- Winesburg, Ohio (selection)
- The Secret History, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.
- The Little Friend, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
- The Goldfinch, 2013
Short stories 
- “Tam-O'-Shanter”. The New Yorker April 19, 1993, p. 90.
- “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.
- 2003 WH Smith Literary Award (The Little Friend)
- shortlisted for the 2003 Orange Prize for Fiction (The Little Friend)
- Fein, Esther B. (1992-11-16). ""The Marketing of a Cause Celebre" - The New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- Scott, A.O. "Harriet the Spy," New York Times, November 3, 2002.
- "Jacobs, Alexandra. "Kidd Keeps Knopf Cool, Wrapping Books Gorgeously" New York Observer, Nov. 6, 2005". Observer.com. 2005-11-06. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- "''Independent'': "Whatever happened to Donna Tartt?"". Arlindo-correia.org. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- Tartt, Donna (1993-04-19). "Fiction: Tam-O'-Shanter" (abstract). The New Yorker. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- The Little Friend (Reference for both awards)
- Tracy Hargreaves, Donna Tartt's "The Secret History", New York and London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2001 ISBN 0-8264-5320-1
- Adrian McOran-Campbell, The Secret History (August 2000)[dead link]
- Danny Yee, "Studying Ancient Greek Warps the Mind of the Young?" (January 4, 1994)
Listen to 
- NPR: Talk of the Nation: Donna Tartt interviewed by Lynn Neary (November 5, 2002)
- NPR: Talk of the Nation: Donna Tartt and Anne Rice interviewed by Ray Suarez (October 30, 1997)
- Donna Tartt reads The Secret History (pages 1-9) at Salon
- Donna Tartt reads The Little Friend at a Jackson, Mississippi bookstore (November 13, 2002)