Ann Patchett was born in Los Angeles but moved to Nashville, Tennessee at the age of six. At the Catholic school she attended her talent for storytelling soon became her unique way of impressing her teachers, and escaping constant detention. When she went on to the Sarah Lawrence College in New York, Ann was determined to become a poet. However, after studying creative writing with teachers such as Grace Paley her course was set. In Ann’s own words: ‘I took to fiction like a duck to water.’ Her first short story, ‘All Little Coloured Children Should Learn to Play Harmonica’ was published in the Paris Review at the age of twenty-one just before she graduated.

After a teaching position at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania and a residential fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Centre in Massachusetts, Patchett’s first novel was published.

She is the author of eight novels: The Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, The Magician’s Assistant, Bel Canto, Run, State of Wonder, Commonwealth, The Dutch House and Tom Lake. She was the editor of Best American Short Stories, 2006, and has written four books of nonfiction, Truth & Beauty, What Now?, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage and These Precious Days. She has won numerous prizes, including the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.

Patchett is the owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband, Karl VanDevender, and their dog, Sparky.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Bel Canto

by Ann Patchett

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Forgiveness. The ability to forgive oneself. Stop here for a few breaths and think about this because it is the key to making art, and very possibly the key to finding any semblance of happiness in life.

Ann Patchett