|Born||July 15, 1947
|Alma mater||Barnard College|
|Genres||short story, novel, essay|
Lydia Davis (born 1947) is a contemporary American writer noted for her short stories. Davis is also a novelist, essayist, and translator from French and other languages, and has produced several new translations of French literary classics, including Proust's Swann’s Way and Flaubert's Madame Bovary.
Davis was born in Northampton, MA. She is the daughter of Robert Gorham Davis, a critic and professor of English, and Hope Hale Davis, a short-story writer, teacher, and memoirist. From 1974 to 1978 Davis was married to Paul Auster, with whom she has a son, Daniel Auster. Davis is currently married to artist Alan Cote, with whom she has a son, Theo Cote. She is a professor of creative writing at University at Albany, SUNY and was a Lillian Vernon Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at New York University in 2012.
She has published six collections of short stories, including The Thirteenth Woman and Other Stories (1976) and Break It Down (1986), a Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her most recent collection was Varieties of Disturbance, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2007 and a Finalist for the National Book Award. The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2009, contains all her stories up to 2008.
Her stories are acclaimed for their brevity and humour. Many are only one or two sentences. Some of her stories are considered poetry or somewhere between philosophy, poetry and short story. Three contemporary authors share the distinction of appearing in both The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Poetry series: Lydia Davis, Stuart Dybek, and Alice Fulton.
In October 2003 Davis received a MacArthur Fellowship. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005. Lydia was a distinguished speaker at the 2004 &NOW Festival at the University of Notre Dame.
Reception and influence 
Davis has been described as "the master of a literary form largely of her own invention." Author Carmela Ciuraru has written of Davis's stories: "Anyone hung up on the conventional (and often predictable) beginning-middle-end narrative format may be disappointed by the wild peregrinations found here. Yet these stories are endearing and rich in their own way, and can be counted on without exception to offer the element of surprise." Author Tao Lin has repeatedly cited her work as inspiration for his own work, specifically her first novel as inspiration for his second novel.
- 1986 PEN/Hemingway Award Finalist, for Break It Down
- 1988 Whiting Foundation Writers' Award for Fiction
- "St. Martin," a short story that first appeared in Grand Street, was included in The Best American Short Stories 1997.
- 1997 Guggenheim Fellowship
- 1998 Lannan Literary Award for Fiction
- 1999 Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for fiction and translation
- "Betrayal," a short-short story that first appeared in Hambone, was included in The Best American Poetry 1999
- "A Mown Lawn," a short-short- story that first appeared in McSweeney's, was included in The Best American Poetry 2001
- 2003 MacArthur Fellows Program
- 2007 National Book Award Fiction Finalist, for Varieties of Disturbance: Stories
- "Men," a short-short story that first appeared in 32 Poems, was included in The Best American Poetry 2009
- 2013 American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Award of Merit Medal
- 2013 Philolexian Award for Distinguished Literary Achievement
- 2013 Man Booker International Prize for lifetime literary achievement, shortlisted
Selected works 
- The Thirteenth Woman and Other Stories, Living Hand, (1976)
- Sketches for a Life of Wassilly. Station Hill Press. 1981. ISBN 978-0-930794-45-3.
- Story and Other Stories. The Figures. 1985. ISBN 978-0-935724-17-2.
- Break It Down. Farrar Straus Giroux. 1986. ISBN 0-374-11653-9.
- The End of the Story. Farrar Straus & Giroux. 1994. ISBN 978-0-374-14831-7. (novel)
- Almost No Memory. Farrar Straus & Giroux. 1997. ISBN 978-0-374-10281-4.
- Samuel Johnson Is Indignant. McSweeney's. 2001. ISBN 978-0-9703355-9-3.
- Varieties of Disturbance. Farrar Straus and Giroux. May 15, 2007. ISBN 978-0-374-28173-1.
- Proust, Blanchot, and a Woman in Red. Center for Writers and Translators. 2007. ISBN 9780955296352.
- The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2009. ISBN 978-0-374-27060-5.
- The Cows. Sarabande Books. 2011. ISBN 9781932511932.
- Charles Wright, David Lehman, ed. (2008). "Men". The Best American Poetry 2008. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-9975-6.
- Robert Hass, David Lehman, ed. (2001). "A Mown Lawn". The Best American Poetry 2001. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-0384-5.
- E. Annie Proulx, Katrina Kenison, ed. (1997). "St. Martin". The Best American Short Stories 1997. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0-395-79866-9.
- Bill Henderson, ed. (1989). The Pushcart prize: best of the small presses. Pushcart Press. ISBN 978-0-916366-58-2.
- Maurice Blanchot (1981). In P. Adams Sitney. The Gaze of Orpheus, and Other Literary Essays. Translator Lydia Davis. Station Hill Press. ISBN 978-0930794378.
- Marcel Proust (2004). In Lydia Davis, Christopher Prendergast. Swann's Way. Translator Lydia Davis. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-243796-4.
- Vivant Denon (2009). In Peter Brooks. No Tomorrow. Translator Lydia Davis. New York Review of Books. ISBN 978-1-59017-326-8.
- Gustave Flaubert (2010). In Lydia Davis. Madame Bovary. Translator Lydia Davis. Viking Adult. ISBN 978-0-670-02207-6.
- "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter D". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- "&Now Program Schedule". &Now 2004. University of Notre Dame. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
- Craig Morgan Teicher, Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 11, 2009
- Carmela Ciuraru, San Francisco Chronicle, November 1, 2009
- The Coffin Factory short story
- The Believer Interview
- Essays, Stories, Interviews and readings
- Samuel Johnson is indignant - TMO meets Lydia Davis
- Interview @ BOMB
- "Q&A with Lydia Davis", The Boston Globe, Kate Bolick, April 29, 2007
- "Mothers Who Think", Salon, June 1997
- "2007 National Book Award Fiction Finalist Interview With Lydia Davis", National Book Foundation
- "Structure Is Structure", Poetry Foundation
- "A Conversation with Lydia Davis", Web Del Sol
- Audio-files @ PENNsound listen to Lydia Davis read from her work
- Author Page at Internationales Literatufestival Berlin Davis was a Guest of the ILB ( Internationales Literatufestival Berlin / Germany ) in 2001
- "Lydia Davis", Penn Sound