Ellen Gilchrist

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Ellen Gilchrist
Carmichael Library, University of Montevallo, April 2007
Carmichael Library, University of Montevallo, April 2007
Born (1935-02-20) February 20, 1935 (age 87)
Vicksburg, Mississippi, US
Period1979 – present
GenreNovel, short story, poetry

Ellen Gilchrist (born February 20, 1935) is an American novelist, short story writer, and poet. She won a National Book Award for her 1984 collection of short stories, Victory Over Japan.[1]


Gilchrist was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and spent part of her childhood on a plantation owned by her maternal grandparents. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and studied creative writing under renowned writer Eudora Welty at Millsaps College. Later in life, Gilchrist enrolled in the creative writing program at the University of Arkansas, but she never completed her MFA. Gilchrist has been married and divorced four times (two marriages and divorces were with the same man) and has three children, fourteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Ocean Springs, Mississippi. She was a professor of creative writing and contemporary fiction at the University of Arkansas.


A success for the recently founded University of Arkansas Press, In the Land of Dreamy Dreams (1981) sold more than 10,000 copies in its first ten months and won immense critical acclaim. Victory over Japan, a collection of short stories, won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction in 1984.[1] Gilchrist has also won awards for her poetry, although it is her short fiction for which she is most well-known. Gilchrist's stories are often praised for the characters that reappear regularly throughout her many volumes of short stories. Her latest book is A Dangerous Age (Algonquin, 2008).

Gilchrist was heard regularly as a commentator on National Public Radio's Morning Edition from 1984 to 1985. Her NPR commentaries have been published in her book Falling Through Space.



  • The Annunciation (1983)
  • The Anna Papers (1988)
  • Net of Jewels (1992)
  • Starcarbon: A Meditation on Love (1994)
  • Anabasis (1994)
  • Sarah Conley (1997)
  • The Cabal (2000)
  • A Dangerous Age (2008)

Story collections

  • In the Land of Dreamy Dreams (1981)
  • Victory over Japan (1984)
  • Drunk with Love (1986)
  • Light Can Be Both Wave and Particle (1989)
  • I Cannot Get You Close Enough: Three Novellas (1990)
  • The Age of Miracles (1995)
  • Rhoda (1995)
  • The Courts of Love (1996)
  • Flights of Angels (1998)
  • Collected Stories (2000)
  • I, Rhoda Manning, Go Hunting With My Daddy (2002)
  • Nora Jane: A Life in Stories (2005)
  • Acts of God (2014)


  • The Land Surveyor's Daughter (poetry) (1979)
  • Riding out the Tropical Depression: Selected Poems, 1975-1985 (1986)
  • Falling Through Space: The Journals of Ellen Gilchrist (1987)
  • The Writing Life (2005)


  1. ^ a b "National Book Awards – 1984". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-26.
    (With essays by Elinor Lipman and Terry Quinn from the Awards 60-year anniversary blog.)

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