Thursday, March 08, 2012

Happy Birthday, Ann Packer

Author Biography

Ann Packer was born in Stanford, California, in 1959, and grew up near Stanford University, where her parents were professors. She attended Yale University and then, after five years working at a publishing company in New York, she went on to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, selling her first short story to The New Yorker a few weeks before receiving her degree. A fellowship at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing followed, and she spent two years living in Madison, Wisconsin, which would later become the setting of her first novel, The Dive from Clausen’s Pier.

While living in Wisconsin, Packer published short stories in literary magazines and had a story chosen for inclusion in the annual O. Henry Awards prize stories anthology. With support from the Michener-Copernicus Society of America, she completed her first book, Mendocino and Other Stories. The National Endowment for the Arts provided a fellowship, and she spent much of the next decade working on The Dive from Clausen’s Pier. A critical success that became a national bestseller and was translated into ten languages, Dive received a Great Lakes Book Award, an American Library Association Award, and the Kate Chopin Literary Award. Packer’s second novel, the bestselling Songs Without Words, was published in 2007.

What is her Writing Like?
The characters in Ann Packer's intimate, emotionally powerful, and unflinchingly candid stories are usually picking up the pieces after a devastating tragedy. Her leisurely paced, meditative tales contain meticulously detailed, psychologically nuanced, and in-depth portraits of ordinary parents, children, and friends as they cope with difficult questions, ambiguous emotions, and persistent guilt stemming from the deaths of loved ones. Her vivid, lyrical, and atmospheric writing captures familiar suburban life and how it can be tainted with angst, confusion, and sorrow after sudden tragedies. Start with: The Dive From Clausen's Pier.

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