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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