About Elizabeth Strout
Elizabeth Strout won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for fiction with her short story collection, Olive Kitteridge, which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. Composed of thirteen stories linked through the title character, Olive Kitteridge is a perceptive and wise portrait that speaks to the power of human connection. “Strout animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” wrote The New Yorker. “Fiction lovers, remember this name: Olive Kitteridge,” said USA Today. You’ll never forget her…. Glorious, powerful stuff.”
A Bates College graduate, Elizabeth Strout grew up in small towns in Maine and New Hampshire. When she was a child, her mother bought her notebooks and encouraged her to record the everyday things that happened to her, which she loved to do. This shaped her writing, but it was only later, when she moved to New York as a writer, that she recognized the impact upon her work of the New England settings of her childhood and the great human dramas that reside in the ordinary.
Her first novel, Amy and Isabelle, won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and for the Orange Prize in England. Her second novel, Abide with Me, was a national bestseller and a Book Sense pick. Her most recent novel, The Burgess Boys, debuted to critical acclaim. The Associated Press raves – “[Strout’s] extraordinary narrative gifts are evident again…[she] knows and vividly evokes the territory of Maine and New York City, her characters, their inner lives and fears and – beyond the saga of a family in crisis – the healing power of mercy.
Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker and O: The Oprah Magazine.
Elizabeth Strout is on the faculty of the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte, in North Carolina, and has lectured at literary series and universities across the country.
Praise for The Burgess Boys:
“Wincingly funny, moving, wise.” —Good Housekeeping
“[Strout’s] extraordinary narrative gifts are evident again…the distance between Bob and Jim — painfully wide at times, lovingly close as well and turning on ‘a terrible secret’ from childhood — gives the novel a level of intrigue and human depth with lasting impact. Strout’s writing style is all her own, at times almost effortlessly fluid, with superbly rendered dialogue, sudden and unexpected bolts of humor and, just as a scene seems to be low-key, carried away by startling riffs of gripping emotion…. Strout knows and vividly evokes the territory of Maine and New York City, her characters, their inner lives and fears and — beyond the saga of a family in crisis — the healing power of mercy.” —Associated Press
“Reading an Elizabeth Strout novel is like peering into your neighbor’s windows. Where Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge was a photo album of characters finessing domestic dynamics, her latest novel, The Burgess Boys, is a similarly artful depiction of how three siblings, battered by circumstance, secrets and familial expectation, stay loyal to each other despite very familiar failings…There is a nuanced tension in the novel, evoked by beautiful and detailed writing. Strout’s manifestations of envy, pride, guilt, selflessness, bigotry and love are subtle and spot-on.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“As in her Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge, Strout deftly exposes the tensions that fester among families. But she also takes a broader view, probing cultural divides…Illustrating the power of roots, Strout assures us we can go home again—though we may not want to.” —O: The Oprah Magazine
“…No one should be surprised by the poignancy and emotional vigor of Elizabeth Strout’s new novel…the broad social and political range of The Burgess Boys shows just how impressively this extraordinary writer continues to develop.” —Washington Post