“It is the birthday of Annie Dillard…”

I’m grateful to Garrison Keillor for reminding all of us that…

It’s the birthday of Annie (Doak) Dillard, (books by this author) born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1945). After writing a master’s thesis on Thoreau’s Walden, she moved to a cabin along Tinker Creek in the Virginian Blue Ridge Mountains. There she wrote poetry and also kept a daily journal of her observations of nature and her thoughts about God and religion. She wrote in old notebooks and on four-by-six-inch index cards, and when she was ready to transform the journal into a book, she had 1,100 entries. The result, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, was published in 1974. It became a Book of the Month Club selection that year and received the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in 1975; she was only 29 years old.

She has published collections of essays and of poetry, as well as an autobiography. Her most recent work is a novel, The Maytrees (2007).

Happy birthday, Annie! Your prose has pulled back the veil to fill my life with color, awe, delight, and your penetrating vision has given me glimpses of wonders that inspire me to rejoice, and horrors that sharpen my yearning for grace. And you write with such verve and spirit and poetry and excellence. Oh, for more like you.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet departed the Patheos network in order to escape click-bait advertisements that were offending him and his readers. He will re-launch Looking Closer at lookingcloser.org soon. He is the author of The Auralia Thread, a four-volume fantasy series that begins with Auralia's Colors, and a memoir of "dangerous moviegoing" called Through a Screen Darkly. He teaches creative writing and film studies; speaks internationally about art and faith; served as Writer-in-Residence at Covenant College; and is employed by Seattle Pacific University as a project manager, copyeditor, and writer.

  • http://goodwordediting.com mgoodyear

    One of the great treasures of mine is a handwritten note from Annie Dillard to me. Several years ago, we used a passage from The Writing Life as the prompt for our literary magazine at the school where I taught. For fun, we sent her a copy of the issue.

    She responded personally. That’s class.


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