Donna Tartt Biography


Birthday: December 23, 1963 (Capricorn)

Born In: Greenwood, Mississippi, United States

Donna Tartt is an American ‘Pulitzer’-winning novelist and short-story writer. She composed her first poem at the age of 5 and became a published writer at 13. During her undergraduate course at the ‘University of Mississippi,’ she impressed the faculty. Upon their advice, she moved to ‘Bennington College,’ known for its courses in liberal arts, including writing. At ‘Bennington,’ she befriended other talented writers. In 1992, she released her first novel, ‘The Secret History,’ which went on to become a bestseller and announced her arrival in the U.S. writing scene. Following this, she composed many short stories and finished her second novel, ‘The Little Friend,’ for which she won her the first notable literary award. She also contributed to many magazines, such as ‘Harper’s’ and ‘GQ.’ Her third and latest novel, ‘The Goldfinch,’ earned her many awards, including the coveted ‘Pulitzer Prize’ in 2014.

Quick Facts

Age: 59 Years, 59 Year Old Females


father: Don Tartt

mother: Taylor Tartt

Born Country: United States

Novelists Short Story Writers

Height: 5'0" (152 cm), 5'0" Females

U.S. State: Mississippi

Notable Alumni: University Of Mississippi

More Facts

education: University of Mississippi, Bennington College

Childhood & Early Life

Donna Louise Tartt was born on December 23, 1963, in Greenwood, Mississippi, U.S., to Taylor and Don Tartt.

Taylor worked as a secretary, and Don was a leading local politician. Tartt’s relationship with her father was estranged.

She grew up in Grenada, Mississippi, along with her mother, sister, and grandparents. According to her, she did not have a privileged upbringing.

When Donna Tartt was 5 years old, she composed her first poem. She became a published writer at the age of 13, when her sonnet appeared in a Mississippi literary review. As a child, she spent a lot of time reading books.

In 1981, she attended the ‘University of Mississippi’ in Oxford, Mississippi. In her freshman year, her compositions impressed Willie Morris, a writer and editor from Mississippi.

Upon Morris’s recommendation, she was admitted into Barry Hannah’s graduate course. Barry was then a writer-in-residence at the ‘University of Mississippi.’

Upon the advice of Morris, Hannah, and others, she availed a transfer to ‘Bennington College’ in Bennington, Vermont, U.S., in 1982.

At ‘Bennington,’ Donna Tartt studied classics and began working on her first novel. There, she met other writers, such as Bret Easton Ellis, Claude Fredericks, Jonathan Lethem, and Jill Eisenstadt.

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Tartt’s first novel, ‘The Secret History,’ was published by ‘Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.’ in September 1992. The book was an inverted detective story. An audiobook version of the same was also released. The movie adaptation never materialized, though the rights were sold numerous times.

Her non-fiction work ‘Sleepytown: A Southern Gothic Childhood, with Codeine’ was published by ‘Harper’s’ in July 1992. It was an essay about her childhood. She wrote the ‘Basketball Season’ for the 1993 issue of ‘The Best American Sports Writing.’

Her short story ‘Tam-O'-Shanter’ appeared in ‘The New Yorker’ on April 19, 1993, while another short story, ‘A Christmas Pageant,’ was published in ‘Harper’s’ in December 1993.

The April 1994 issue of ‘Harper’s’ featured her piece ‘Team Spirit: Memories of Being a Freshman Cheerleader for the Basketball Team.’

In May 1995, her short story ‘A Garter Snake’ was featured in ‘GQ.’

Her second novel, ‘The Little Friend,’ was also published by ‘Alfred A. Knopf, Inc’ in 2002. The book was a mystery adventure based on a young girl. The abridged version of the novel was released as an audiobook. Her first and second novels have been translated into 30 languages.

Donna Tartt lent her voice to a portion of the audiobook of ‘Winesburg, Ohio’ in 2002. The same year, she began working with the Scottish publisher ‘Canongate Books.’ Her assignment consisted of reimagining and rewriting the stories of the Greek mythical characters of ‘Daedalus’ and ‘Icarus’ for the ‘Canongate Myth Series.’

In 2000, she contributed to ‘The Novel, Spirituality and Modern Culture’ with an essay titled ‘The Spirit and Writing in a Secular World.’

Her short story ‘The Ambush’ was published in ‘The Guardian’ on June 25, 2005.

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An afterword for the movie ‘True Grit,’ written by her, was featured in the tie-in edition published by ‘The Overlook Press’ in November 2010.

In 2013, her ‘Pulitzer’-winning novel ‘The Goldfinch’ was published by ‘Little, Brown and Company.’ The book used a first-person narrative. The novel was adapted into a movie and released in 2019 but failed at the box office.

Awards & Recognitions

In 2003, Donna Tartt won the ‘WH Smith Literary Award’ for her second novel, ‘The Little Friend.’ The same year, the book got her shortlisted for the ‘Orange Prize for Fiction,’ presently known as the ‘Women’s Prize for Fiction,’ one of the U.S.’s most prestigious literary awards.

Her short story ‘The Ambush’ was featured on the list of “The Best American Short Stories” of 2006.

Her latest novel, ‘The Goldfinch,’ was shortlisted for the ‘National Book Critics Circle Award’ (in the fiction category) in 2013.

The following year, she received a number of awards for ‘The Goldfinch,’ including the ‘Pulitzer Prize for Fiction,’ the ‘Malaparte Prize’ (an Italian literary award), and the ‘Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence for Fiction.’ She was also shortlisted for the ‘Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction,’ now called the ‘Women’s Prize for Fiction.’

The editors of ‘The New York Times Book Review’ named ‘The Goldfinch’ one of the 10 best books of 2013.

In 2014, she was named to the “Time 100,” a list of the 100 most influential people in the world, compiled by the American news magazine ‘Time.’

She was featured on the “International Best Dressed List” of the fashion magazine ‘Vanity Fair’ in 2014.

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Family & Personal Life

Tartt is known to keep her personal life as discreet as possible. She is not too active on social-media platforms such as ‘Facebook’ and ‘Instagram.’

Tartt has been romantically linked to Ellis and Nicholas Shakespeare in the past. However, she has denied these reports and has maintained that she does not wish to marry. She is a pet lover.

She converted to Roman Catholicism. This deed inspired her to write the essay ‘The Spirit and Writing in a Secular World’ in 2000.

See the events in life of Donna Tartt in Chronological Order

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