Anne Tyler

On this date in 1941, American novelist and critic Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis. Both parents were Quakers and social activists. The family lived in a Quaker commune in North Carolina while Tyler was young. After graduating from high school at age 16, she enrolled at Duke University on a full scholarship. She majored in Russian literature and was involved in Duke’s drama society and the visual arts and graduated in 1961. She received a fellowship from Columbia University in Slavic studies but left graduate school after a year.

Tyler has published 22 novels as of this writing in 2019. The best-known are “Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant”(1982), “The Accidental Tourist” (1985) and “Breathing Lessons” (1988). All three were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, with “Breathing Lessons” winning the prize in 1989.

Tyler has worked as a literary critic and journalist and has written short stories, many published in The New Yorker, the Saturday Evening Post, Redbook, McCall’s and Harper’s. Her work escapes classification, although she is often labeled a “Southern author” or a “modern American author.” Tyler’s works are known for their depictions of family life and their intensely real characters and detailed descriptions.

She married Iranian psychiatrist and novelist Taghi Mohammad Modarressi in 1963. Living in Baltimore, they raised two daughters, Tezh and Mitra. Modarressi, 10 years Tyler’s senior, died of lymphoma in 1997 at the age of 65.

Freedom From Religion Foundation