Ann Beattie was born in Washington, D.C., on September 8, 1947, the only child of Charlotte Crosby Beattie and James A. Beattie. She attended the Lafayette Elementary School and graduated from high school in Washington, D.C., in 1965. Her father was a grants management specialist for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. If Beattie did not find her early schooling very stimulating, she seems to have been preparing in some fashion for writing even during her childhood. In an interview with Patrick H. Samway, Beattie explained:
I was an only child. . . . It is often true of only children that they become watchers because they belong to small families and are tightly bonded to those units. . . . I am continually squirreling away situations that I don’t consciously realize are registering.
It was in college that she began to take literature seriously. She took a course with Frank Turaj, who, she says, “taught me how to read.” She received a B.A. degree from the American University in 1969 and matriculated as a graduate student in English at the University of Connecticut. It was there that she started submitting stories for publication; she received her master’s degree in 1970. “A Rose for Judy Garland’s Casket” was her first story published, and in the same year, 1972, she withdrew from the doctoral program. Beattie later explained that she was miserable and that she simply decided to write instead of “reading...
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Beattie’s stories and novels demonstrate that she is, as she has said she hoped to be seen as, “astute about human behavior.” Her stories about people struggling to make their peace with the world and find contentedness have struck a strong chord with a generation of readers who came of age in the 1960’s and 1970’s. In her novel Picturing Will, she moved beyond her indirect portrayals of alienation to a depiction of a nurturing parent, a universal father.
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Born on September 8, 1947, Ann Beattie grew up with television, rock music, and all the other accouterments of the baby boomers. The child of a retired Health, Education, and Welfare Department administrator, Beattie took a B.A. in English at American University in 1969 and completed her M.A. at the University of Connecticut in 1970. She began, but did not complete, work on her Ph.D. In 1972 she was married to, and was later divorced from, David Gates, a writer for Newsweek and a singer. Together they had one son. Before her appointment at Harvard, Beattie taught at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. After living in the Connecticut suburbs and in New York City, she returned to Charlottesville and the university...
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The daughter of an administrator in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, James A. Beattie, and Charlotte Beattie (née Crosby), Ann Beattie was born in Washington, D.C., in 1947 and grew up in the city’s suburbs. As a child, she was encouraged to paint, read, and write. An avid scholar, she enrolled at American University in Washington, D.C., in 1966 and received her B.A. only three years later, in 1969. During this short tenure, she edited the university literary journal and was chosen by Mademoiselle magazine to be a guest editor in 1968. After her graduation, Beattie entered the M.A. program at the University of Connecticut as a graduate assistant to study eighteenth century literature. She received...
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