Biography

Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth Strout was born in Portland, Maine, and grew up in small towns in Maine and New Hampshire. From a young age she was drawn to writing things down, keeping notebooks that recorded the quotidian details of her days. She was also drawn to books, and spent hours of her youth in the local library lingering among the stacks of fiction. During the summer months of her childhood she played outdoors, either with her brother, or, more often, alone, and this is where she developed her deep and abiding love of the physical world: the seaweed covered rocks along the coast of Maine, and the woods of New Hampshire with its hidden wildflowers.

During her adolescent years, Strout continued writing avidly, having conceived of herself as a writer from early on.  She read biographies of writers, and was already studying --- on her own --- the way American writers, in particular, told their stories. Poetry was something she read and memorized; by the age of 16 was sending out stories to magazines. Her first story was published when she was 26.

Strout attended Bates College, graduating with a degree in English in 1977. Two years later, she went to Syracuse University College of Law, where she received a law degree along with a Certificate in Gerontology.  She worked briefly for Legal Services, before moving to New York City, where she became an adjunct in the English Department of Borough of Manhattan Community College. By this time she was publishing more stories in literary magazines and Redbook and Seventeen. Juggling the needs that came with raising a family and her teaching schedule, she found a few hours each day to work on her writing.

In 1998, AMY AND ISABELLE was published to much critical acclaim. The novel had taken almost seven years to write, and only her family and close friends knew she was working on it. Six years later she published ABIDE WITH ME, and three years after that, OLIVE KITTERIDGE. While her life as a writer has increasingly become a more public one, she remains as devoted to the crafting of honest fiction as she was when she was 16 years old, sending out her first stories.

Having lived in New York for almost half her life, she continues to thrill at the crowded sidewalks and the subways and the small corner delis. “It’s simple,” she has said. “For me --- there is nothing more interesting than life.”

Elizabeth Strout

Books by Elizabeth Strout

edited by Elizabeth Strout - Fiction, Short Stories

A contemporary of Ann Beattie and Tobias Wolff, Frederick Busch was a master craftsman of the form; his subjects were single-event moments in so-called ordinary life. The stories in this volume, selected by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout, are tales of families trying to heal their wounds, save their marriages, and rescue their children.

by Elizabeth Strout - Fiction

Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their hometown. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister urgently calls them home. And so Jim and Bob return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.

by Elizabeth Strout - Fiction

The story of a single mother and her teenage daughter during one fateful year, Amy and Isabelle illuminates the complexities that lie at the heart of the first, and most intimate, relationship in our lives. The questions, discussion topics, and suggested reading list that follow are intended to enhance your reading group's exploration of the ties that bind mother and daughter, and the secrets--about the past and present, about love and sexuality--that simmer beneath the surface.