Strout at the 2015 Texas Book Festival
January 6, 1956 
|Alma mater||Bates College
|Notable works||Amy and Isabelle
Abide with Me
The Burgess Boys
My Name Is Lucy Barton
|Notable awards||Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
6 Emmy Awards
Elizabeth Strout (born January 6, 1956) is an American novelist, academic, and short story writer. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Olive Kitteridge, a collection of connected short stories about a woman and her immediate family and friends on the coast of Maine. The book has been adapted into an HBO miniseries that won six awards at the 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards.
She has written multiple award winning novels over her early career that include, Amy and Isabelle (1998), Abide with Me (2006), Olive Kitteridge (2008), The Burgess Boys (2013), and most recently, My Name Is Lucy Barton (2016). Her book, Amy and Isabelle was adapted as a television movie, starring Elisabeth Shue and produced by Oprah Winfrey's studio, Harpo Films.
Early life and education
″I grew up in Durham, N.H. My parents were both professors at the university. My father was in the sciences. He was a parasitologist. He had his own lab that he ran. And my mother taught writing in the English Department, and she also taught writing in the high school. And we also lived in Maine on a dirt road where many of my relatives lived along that same dirt road.″
After graduating from Bates College, she spent a year in Oxford, England, followed by studies at law school for another year. In 1982, she graduated with honors, and received a law degree from the Syracuse University College of Law. That year her first story was published in New Letters magazine.
Strout moved to New York City, where she waitressed and began developing early novels and stories to little success. She continued to write stories that were published in literary magazines, as well as in Redbook and Seventeen. She enrolled in Law School at Syracuse University College of Law, and practiced law for six months before concluding her legal practice and focusing on her writing. In an interview with Terry Gross in January 2015 she said of the experience, "law school was more of an operation, I think." She stated in an interview with The Morning News,
I wanted to be a writer so much that the idea of failing at it was almost unbearable to me. I really didn’t tell people as I grew older that I wanted to be a writer—you know, because they look at you with such looks of pity. I just couldn’t stand that.
Amy and Isabelle
She worked for six or seven years to complete her book Amy and Isabelle, which when published was shortlisted for the 2000 Orange Prize and nominated for the 2000 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction. Amy and Isabelle was adapted as a television movie, starring Elisabeth Shue and produced by Oprah Winfrey's studio, Harpo Films.
Strout was a National Endowment for the Humanities lecturer at Colgate University during the Fall Semester of 2007, where she taught creative writing at both the introductory and advanced levels. She was also on the faculty of the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In 2009 Strout was honored with a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Olive Kitteridge, a collection of connected short stories about a woman and her immediate family and friends on the coast of Maine. In June 2010, Italian booksellers voted Olive Kitteridge and Strout as the winner of the Premio Bancarella award, at an event held in the medieval Piazza della Repubblica in Pontremoli, Italy. The Burgess Boys, was published March 26, 2013, and her most recent novel, "My Name Is Lucy Barton," was published in January, 2016. The book enjoyed commercial success and Louisa Thomas of the New York Times stated,
The pleasure in reading Olive Kitteridge comes from an intense identification with complicated, not always admirable, characters. And there are moments in which slipping into a character’s viewpoint seems to involve the revelation of an emotion more powerful and interesting than simple fellow feeling—a complex, sometimes dark, sometimes life-sustaining dependency on others. There’s nothing mawkish or cheap here. There’s simply the honest recognition that we need to try to understand people, even if we can’t stand them.
Strout is married to former Maine Attorney General James Tierney. He serves as the Director of the National State Attorney General Program at Columbia Law School. She divides her time between New York City and Maine.
- My Name Is Lucy Barton (2016)
- The Burgess Boys (2013)
- Olive Kitteridge (2008)
- Abide with Me (2006)
- Amy and Isabelle (1998)
- The Friend Who Got Away (2005)
- Encyclopædia Britannica almanac 2010. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. p. 71. ISBN 1615353291. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- Thompson, Bob.Fiction Pulitzer Prize Winner Elizabeth Strout Talks Writing Olive Kitteridge.The Washington Post, August 4, 2009.
- "My Name is Lucy Barton". Elizabeth Strout.
- Birnbaum, Robert.Elizabeth Strout. The Morning News, August 26, 2008.
- Birnbaum, Robert. "Elizabeth Strout - The Morning News". The Morning News. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
- "My Name is Lucy Barton". Elizabeth Strout.
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