Annie Proulx

Annie Proulx

E. Annie Proulx was born on 22 August 1935 in Connecticut USA, the state where her mother’s family of farmers, mill workers, inventors and artists have lived since 1635, but has spent most of her life in Vermont. She is the eldest of five girls.

Proulx recounts her young life as follows. ‘I briefly attended Colby College in Waterville, Maine in the early 1950s, left to experience two terrible marriages, New York City, the Far East and single-mother-with-two-children poverty.’ In 1963 she went back to school and studied history at the University of Vermont from 1966-69, graduating cum laude. She then went on to take an MA before beginning work on a doctorate.

In 1975 she abandoned her doctoral thesis and started work as a freelance journalist. During this time she lived with a friend in a shack in rural Canaan on the Canadian border, in ‘brutally poor circumstances’. As she recalls, ‘compensation were silence and good fishing. From 1975 to 1988 I wrote articles on weather, apples, canoeing, mountain lions, mice, cuisine, libraries, African beadwork, cider and lettuces for dozens of magazines. Payments were usually late and small. It was a miserable way to make a living’. Whenever she could squeeze in the time she wrote stories, averaging about two a year. In recent years grants from the Vermont Council of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and a Fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation as well as publishers’ advances, have enabled her to devote her time to writing.

She has three sons. Her interests include cooking, music, wine, fly-fishing, good conversation, canoeing, camping, bird hunting, gardening, landscape work, carpentry, painting, homemade bread, knots and wood-lore. She describes herself as an ‘omnivorous reader, happy with a mining journal or a speed-boat-freak-mag if nothing else is available’. She likes the cold and snow, sharp seasonal changes and weather extremes.

E. Annie Proulx wrote her first novel, Postcards, in her fifties and followed it with The Shipping News, which won the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, the US National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 1994. In April 1998 she was presented with the US National Magazine Award for excellence in Fiction. She is also the author of a short-story collection, Heart Songs (Fourth Estate 1994). Accordion Crimes, was published by Fourth Estate in October 1996, and was followed by the publication of Brokeback Mountain, a short story which was published alone in October 1998. Close Range, a collection of short stories (which includes Brokeback Mountain) was published in June 1999.

Comments are closed.