She took up a teaching job in Texas and in 1962, she started teaching at the University of Detroit. The following year, she came out with her first book, ‘By the North Gate', which was a collection of short stories.
In 1964, at the age of 26, her first novel, ‘With Shuddering Fall ' was published. The plot revolved around the lives of two women, ‘Shar’ and ‘Karen’ and chronicled their unsuccessful love lives.
In 1966, her short story, ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been' was published in the 'Epoch Magazine'. The same year, she came out with her book of short stories, ‘Upon the Sweeping Flood And Other Stories'.
In 1967, her award winning novel, ‘A Garden of Earthly Delights' was published. The following year, she published the book, ‘Women In Love and Other Poems' and the novel, 'Expensive People'.
In 1969, one of her most acclaimed and award winning novels, ‘Them’ was published. The next year, her book of short stories, ‘The Wheel of Love and Other Stories' was published.
In the 1970s, she came out with the novels, ‘Wonderland', 'Do With Me What You Will', 'The Assassins', 'Childwold', 'Cybele' and the short story collections, 'Marriages and Infidelities' and 'Crossing the Border'.
In 1980, she published her magic realist novel titled, ‘Bellefleur' and the drama, ‘Three Plays'. Over the years, she came out with the novels, 'Angel of Light', 'A Bloodsmoor Romance' and 'Mysteries of Winterthurn'.
In 1987, she published her novel ‘You Must Remember This' and her other work titled ‘On Boxing’. The following year, she came out with a short story collection, 'The Assignation'.
Her 1989 novel 'American Appetites' was centered on the life of a couple in New York. The same year, she also published her poetry book titled, 'The Time Traveler'.
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In 1990, she authored the work of drama, 'Tone Clusters' and the novel, 'Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart'. The same year, her novella 'I Lock My Door Upon Myself' was published.
In 1992, her acclaimed novella ‘Black Water’ was published. The following year, her novel about two teenage girls in New York titled, ‘Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang' was published.
In 1994, her Pulitzer Prize nominated novel, 'What I Lived For' was published. The following year, she came out with the novel, 'Zombie' and the drama, ‘The Perfectionist and Other Plays’.
In the 1990s, she published the novels, ‘First Love: A Gothic Tale', 'We Were the Mulvaneys', 'Man Crazy', 'My Heart Laid Bare ' and 'Broke Heart Blues'. She also authored the short story collection, 'The Collector of Hearts: New Tales of the Grotesque'.
Her historical novel, ‘Blonde', published in 2000, became a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. This was a fictional version of the life of actress Marilyn Monroe. The next year, her bestselling novel, ‘Middle Age: A Romance' was published.
In the early 2000s, she authored a series of young adult novels. They include, 'Big Mouth & Ugly Girl', 'Small Avalanches and Other Stories', 'Freaky Green Eyes' and 'Sexy'.
In 2002, she came out with novel, ‘I'll Take You There’. In the following years, she published the novels, ‘The Tattooed Girl', 'Black Girl / White Girl', 'The Gravedigger's Daughter', ' My Sister, My Love' and 'Little Bird of Heaven’.
In 2004, she came out with her collection of short stories titled, ‘I Am No One You Know: Stories'. The following year, her novel, ‘The Corn Maiden: A Love Story' was published.
In 2006, her book of short stories, ‘High Lonesome: New & Selected Stories, 1966–2006' was published. The same year, her young adult novel, ‘After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away' was published.
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In 2007, her short story collection. ‘The Museum of Dr. Moses: Tales of Mystery and Suspense' was published. The following year she also came out with the book, ‘Wild Nights!'.
In 2009, her book of short stories, ‘Dear Husband ' was published. The following year, she came out with the novel 'A Fair Maiden' and the short story book, 'Sourland: Stories'.
In 2011, her book of novellas and short stories, ‘The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares' was published. The following year, she published her novel, ‘Mudwoman'.
In 2012, her young adult novel 'Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You ' was published. The same year her short story collection, 'Black Dahlia & White Rose' was published.
In 2013, she came out with the novels, 'Carthage', ' Daddy Love' and 'The Accursed'.
Awards & Achievements
In 1967, she received the O. Henry Award for ‘In the Region of Ice'.
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In 1968, she was awarded the M. L. Rosenthal Award for 'A Garden of Earthly Delights'.
In 1970, she was the recipient of theNational Book Award for Fiction for'them'.
In 1973, she was conferred the O. Henry Award 'The Dead'.
In 1996, she was bestowed upon the PEN/Malamud Award for 'Excellence in the Art of the Short Story'.
In 2010, she was conferred the National Humanities Medal.
In 2012, she received the Stone Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement, conferred by the Oregon State University.
In 2013, she received the Bram Stoker Award for the category 'Best Fiction Collection' for 'Black Dahlia and White Rose: Stories'.