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Donna Tartt

Enigmatic novelist and lover of a tailored suit.

23/12/1963 -

Donna Tartt began her literary career whilst studying at the University of Mississippi where her "rare genius" earned her a transfer to the exclusive Bennington College in Vermont. Here she honed her craft alongside Jonathan Lethem and Bret Easton Ellis, in fact it was whilst drafting their debuts (The Secret History and Less than Zero respectively) that Donna and Bret dated.

Published in 1992, her debut, The Secret History is now widely regarded as one of the most important debut American novels ever published, and has achieved cult-like status with booklovers around the globe (the novel has been translated into 24 languages so far). Part of the novel's success lies in its unconventional 'take' on the murder mystery - whereby we are made aware of the victim and perpetrator(s) within the first chapter of the novel. What follows, however, is a gloriously gothic unravelling of the events which lead to the victim's demise. However, despite of the success of her debut, it would be another 10 years before a new Donna Tartt novel would grace our bookshelves.

With the publication of The Little Friend in 2002, Tartt returned to her southern roots, setting her novel in the American South in the late 20th century. The novel earned her a nomination for the Orange Prize and topped bestseller lists worldwide.

In February 2013, just as the book industry was beginning to ask whatever happened to Donna Tartt? it was announced that The Goldfinch, Tartt's third and latest book would be released, much to the delight of her fans who had waited over 11 years for the news.

Over the space of 780+ pages, we follow Theo Decker as he struggles to cope with the repercussions of a decision made as a 13 year old, a decision which ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld.

Book and writing awards

WH Smith Literary Award 2003 (The Little Friend), Pulitzer Prize 2014 (The Goldfinch)

Similar authors to Donna Tartt

Bret Easton Ellis and John Irving.

We're talking about...

The Goldfinch: Donna Tartt in conversation

Posted on 25th Jan, 2014 by Waterstones

In an exclusive Waterstones event at the end of 2013, Donna Tartt spoke to Kirsty Wark and a sell-out audience about her latest novel, The Goldfinch...