Donna Tartt is a writer and author of the novels "The Secret History," "The Little Friend" and "The Goldfinch." Tartt won the WH Smith Literary Award for "The Little Friend" in 2003 and in 2014 her novel "The Goldfinch" was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
Tartt was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta, and raised in the nearby town of Grenada.
At the University of Mississippi, 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 18-year-old Tartt into his graduate short story course. "She was deeply literary," says Hannah. "Just a rare genius, really. A literary star."
Following the suggestion of Morris and others, she transferred to Bennington College in 1982, where she was friends with fellow students Bret Easton Ellis, Jill Eisenstadt, and Jonathan Lethem. At Bennington, she studied classics with Claude Fredericks.
Tartt began writing her first novel, originally titled "The God of Illusions," later published as "The Secret History," during her second year at Bennington. 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 over 20 languages.
"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.
Tartt's long-awaited third novel, "The Goldfinch," was published on October 22, 2013, and went on to become a #1 New York Times Best Seller and won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
A number of major recurring literary themes occur in Tartt's novels. These include the themes of social class and social stratification, as well as guilt and aesthetic beauty. These themes are both present as important aspects of "The Secret History" and "The Goldfinch."
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