It seems to me that since I’ve had children I’ve grown richer and deeper. They may have slowed down my writing for a while but when I did write I had more of a self to speak from.

Anne Tyler

Novelist Ann Tyler was born October 25, 1941, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Tyler’s parents were Quakers, and she was raised in Quaker communities, settling in the mountains of North Carolina for four years before moving to Raleigh when she was eleven, where she attended public school for the first time. Tyler was well ahead of her classmates, thanks in part to her love of reading, and graduated from High School at sixteen. She attended Duke University on scholarship and studied under Reynolds Price, writing short stories, including one he considered the best he had ever read by an undergraduate. At nineteen, Tyler went to graduate school at Columbia University but returned to Duke to work in the Library before completing her thesis. There she met Taghi Modarressi, a resident in child psychology at the medical school. Although engaged to someone else when she met Modarressi, she married him seven months later in 1963.

Tyler continued to write short stories, which were published in The New YorkerThe Saturday Evening Post, and Harpers. In 1964 her first novel, If Morning Ever Comes, was published. She was just twenty-three. Her second novel, The Tin Can Treewas published the following year. 

She had her first daughter in 1965 and took a hiatus from writing novels and short stories for five years as her family got settled in Baltimore. In the early seventies, she published four books, feeling her work had considerably improved. 

Her ninth novel, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurantpublished in 1982, is considered her best work and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, PEN/Faulkner Award, and the American Book Award for Fiction. Her next novel, The Accidental Tourist (1985), was a finalist for the Pulitzer as well. Then finally, her 11th novel, Breathing Lessons (1988), was awarded the Pulitzer. 

In 1997 her husband died of lymphoma. He was just 65, and Tyler never remarried. 

Tyler is consistent and disciplined about her work habits, publishing more than twenty novels during her career.  

Lesson from Tyler

Tyler has lived a quiet, orderly life and braided her observations of the human experience and relational dynamics into beloved books. She may not be partying and having love affairs all over the world, but she won a Pulitzer y’all. 

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