"Write because you love the art and the discipline, not because you're looking to sell something." -- Ann Patchett
Ann Patchett (born December 2, 1963 ) is an American author. She received the Orange Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 2002 for her novel Bel Canto. Patchett's other novels include Run, The Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, and The Magician's Assistant, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and received the Nashville Banner Tennessee Writer of the Year Award in 1994.
"I can write for any magazine now, in any voice. I can do it in two hours, I could do it in my sleep, it's like writing a grocery list.""I don't write for an audience, I don't think whether my book will sell, I don't sell it before I finish writing it.""I think people become consumed with selling a book when they need to be consumed with writing it.""I was very influenced by The Magic Mountain. It's a book that had a huge impact on me. I loved that as a shape for a novel: put a bunch of people in a beautiful place, give them all tuberculosis, make them all stay in a fur sleeping bag for several years and see what happens.""Part of it is living in Tennessee. I'm so out of the loop. And as a person, I'm out of the loop. I'm oblivious by nature.""People gave me such a bad time about wanting a baby. I didn't want a baby, and I still don't. I wanted a dog.""Praise and criticism seem to me to operate exactly on the same level. If you get a great review, it's really thrilling for about ten minutes. If you get a bad review, it's really crushing for ten minutes. Either way, you go on.""Well, I always say that the two things I was most disastrous at in my life, being a teenager and being a wife, were the two things I really wound up cashing in on when I was writing fluffy magazine pieces.""You see an absolutely brilliant film later, as an adult, and you walk out thinking about what to have for dinner. Whereas something like Jaws winds up having a huge effect on me. If only my parents had been taking me to Kurosawa films when I was eight, but no."
Patchett attended high school at St. Bernard Academy, a private, non-parochial Catholic school for girls run by the Sisters of Mercy. . Following graduation, she attended Sarah Lawrence College and took fiction writing classes with Allan Gurganus, Russell Banks, and Grace Paley. She later attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where she met longtime friend Elizabeth McCracken. It was also there that she wrote her first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars.
Patchett's first published work was in The Paris Review. She sold her story to the journal and had it published before she graduated from Sarah Lawrence College.
For nine years, Patchett worked at Seventeen magazine. She mostly wrote non-fiction, and the magazine would publish only one of every five articles she wrote. She said that the magazine was cruel and eventually she stopped taking criticism personally. She ended her relationship with the magazine after getting into a fight with an editor and exclaiming, "I’ll never darken your door again!"
In 1992, Patchett published The Patron Saint of Liars. The novel was made into a movie of the same title in 1998.
Her second novel Taft won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize in fiction in 1994. Her third novel, The Magician’s Assistant, was released in 1997. In 2001, her fourth novel Bel Canto became her breakthrough, winning many awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award, and becoming a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist.
She was friends with fellow writer Lucy Grealy and has written a memoir about their relationship, Truth and Beauty: A Friendship. Patchett's latest novel, Run, was released in October 2007. What now?, published in April 2008, is an essay based on a commencement speech she delivered at her alma mater in 2006.
Patchett has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, O, The Oprah Magazine, ELLE, GQ, Gourmet, and Vogue. She is the editor of the 2006 volume of the anthology series The Best American Short Stories.