Deirdre Bair

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Deirdre Bair (21 June 1935 – 17 April 2020) was an American writer and biographer. She was the author of six works of nonfiction.

Bair received a National Book Award for Samuel Beckett: A Biography (1978).[1][a] Her biographies of Simone de Beauvoir and Carl Jung[2] were finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.[when?] Her biographies of Anaïs Nin and Simone de Beauvoir were chosen by The New York Times as “Best Books of the Year”,[which?] and her biography of Jung won the Gradiva Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis in 2004. Her book, Calling It Quits, examines late-life divorce and starting over and has been profiled on CBS’s The Early Show, NBC's The Today Show, the Brian Lehrer radio show and on CBC Canada. She published a biography of New Yorker cartoonist and artist Saul Steinberg in 2012 and a biography of Chicago mobster Al Capone in 2016, using previously unknown sources from his family.[3]

Bair was awarded fellowships from (among others) the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (then named the Bunting Institute). She was also a literary journalist who wrote frequently about travel, feminist issues, and cultural life. A former professor of comparative literature at the University of Pennsylvania, she wrote and lectured internationally. She divided her time mostly between New York and Connecticut and was a Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities.


  • Deirdre Bair (1990). Samuel Beckett: A Biography. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-69173-8.
  • Deirdre Bair (1996). Anais Nin. Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-0-7475-2542-4.
  • Deirdre Bair (1990). Simone de Beauvoir: A Biography. Random House. ISBN 978-0-09-943347-7.
  • Deirdre Bair (2007). Calling it Quits: Late-life Divorce and Starting Over. Random House. ISBN 978-1-4000-6448-9.
  • Deirdre Bair (2008). Jung: A Biography. Paw Prints. ISBN 978-1-4352-9126-3.
  • Deirdre Bair (2012). Saul Steinberg: A Biography. Knopf Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-53498-7.
  • Deirdre Bair (2016). Al Capone: His Life, Legacy, and Legend. Knopf Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-53716-2.
  • Deirdre Bair (2019). Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir, and Me. Nan A. Talese/Doubleday. ISBN 9780385542456.


  1. ^ Samuel Beckett won the 1981 award for paperback "Autobiography/Biography".
    From 1980 to 1983 in National Book Award history there were dual hardcover and paperback awards in most categories, and several nonfiction subcategories including General Nonfiction. Most of the paperback award-winners were reprints, including this one.


  1. ^ "National Book Awards – 1981". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  2. ^ McKie, Robin (28 December 2003). "Observer review: Jung by Deirdre Bair". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
  3. ^ Deirdre Bair (2016-10-26). Al Capone. Museum of the American Gangster: Book TV. Even starts at 0h 0' 19". Retrieved 2016-11-13.

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