- NAME: Ellen Gilchrist
- OCCUPATION: Radio Personality, Journalist, Author, Poet
- BIRTH DATE: February 20, 1935 (Age: 79)
- EDUCATION: Vanderbilt University, Millsaps College, University of Arkansas
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Vicksburg, Mississippi
- Full Name: Ellen Louise Gilchrist
- AKA: Ellen Gilchrist
- ZODIAC SIGN: Pisces
Best Known For
Ellen Gilchrist is an award-winning writer known for her poetry, novels and story collections, including Victory Over Japan and The Age of Miracles.
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Born on February 20, 1935, in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Ellen Gilchrist studied under Eudora Welty before becoming an acclaimed writer in her own right, winning the 1984 National Book Award for her second book of stories, Victory Over Japan. Many more works have followed over the years, including a memoir, the novels Anabasis and Starcarbon, and other story collections like Flights of Angels.
"Great and startling books have taught and changed me, have made me wish for nobility and dream of changing the world. They have solaced me when I was young and in love, made me laugh at myself for needing solace, and helped me grow old without noticing I had."
"I give them things that belong to me. I give them my old black lace dress or my best friend's eyes or a poem I wrote a year ago or one of my old boyfriends or whatever I think they need."
[Referring to her characters.]
"I think all writers have to be responsible for all their characters; the good, bad and indifferent ones. I've been motivated all my life by a huge curiosity about the world."
"I moved around a lot as a child because of the second World War and afterwards. My parents and my family are all from the Deep South, but I've been fortunate to be a Southerner and also to know other parts of the country as well."
"When I first began to write seriously, I thought I would only write poetry, but my short stories had such success ..."
"Children live in the present, and since I am trying to learn to do that, they are my favorite companions in my old age."
Ellen Louise Gilchrist was born on February 20, 1935, in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Moving often with her family due to her father's Army engineering work, Gilchrist had an active imagination and a passion for reading, going on to pen her own column as a teen in a Kentucky newspaper. She later attended both Vanderbilt University and Millsaps College, being taught by fellow writer Eudora Welty at the latter.
Gilchrist was twice married and twice divorced to Marshall Walker, with whom she has three children.
Gilchrist published her first book in 1979, The Land Surveyor's Daughter, a work of poetry. She followed up with her fiction debut in 1981, In the Land of Dreamy Dreams, a book of stories which earned the writer critical buzz and was published under University of Arkansas Press. After having released her first novel The Annunciation (1983), Gilchrist offered up another assortment of stories, Victory Over Japan, a highly esteemed outing which earned the writer the 1984 National Book Award.
Gilchrist has released a plethora of titles over the decades. Additional story collections include Light Can Be Both Wave and Particle (1989) and The Courts of Love (1996), accompanied by novels like Net of Jewels (1992), Sarah Conley (1997) and A Dangerous Age (2008). In terms of nonfiction, 1987's Falling Through Space: The Journals of Ellen Gilchrist collected her yearlong commentary for NPR's Morning Edition, and in 2005 she released the memoir The Writing Life.
Having a distinctive, wit-fueled style, much of Gilchrist's tales have focused on women of the South, with some figures returning in successive works. Particular arcs around single characters have been presented in the "Life in Stories" collections of Rhoda (1995) and Nora Jane (2005).
Gilchrist's next book of stories, Acts of God, is slated to be published in 2014.
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