“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 has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.

  • 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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