Author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Olive Kitteridge
Photo credit: Leonardo Cendamo
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. Her most recent novel, My Name is Lucy Barton, became a #1 New York Times bestseller and was longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize.
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. Additionally, Strout’s novel The Burgess Boys was a New York Times Bestseller and named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker and O: The Oprah Magazine.
Olive Kitteridge was adapted into an Emmy Award-winning HBO miniseries starring Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, and Bill Murray. It was also recently announced The Burgess Boys has been optioned by HBO for a miniseries.
Elizabeth Strout is on the faculty of the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte, in North Carolina, and at literary series and universities across the country.
Praise for Elizabeth Strout
We had an absolutely wonderful day with Elizabeth Strout. What a joy she is! She was so kind, authentic, accessible, and wise. She was so generous in her sharing of her thoughts, her craft, and her stories. The students and teachers at the High School were just over the moon. She has an uncanny way of connecting with people in deep significant ways in a very short period of time. Everyone—students, teachers, funders, board members, staff, and audience members in the signing line—all walked away feeling like they ‘knew her’ and she them.
Her talk was brilliant. She has an innate intuition—maybe the keenest I have ever seen—which she put into high gear. Her talk was truly an interactive conversation with the audience. They were with her every step of the way and she with them. She utilized her deadpan humor to convey a message that could be considered dark and difficult to hear, respectfully bringing the audience into her thought process. They loved her!
And to top it all off—it was fun! I am so glad that we were able to work with you to bring Elizabeth Strout (her first time in Pittsburgh!) to our audience.— Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures
Elizabeth Strout was so bright, natural and her thoughtful presentation on fiction was a perfect prelude for our Saturday seminar. The evaluations are outstanding! Bravo!— Washington and Lee University
Praise for Anything Is Possible
The epic scope within seemingly modest confines recalls Strout’s Pulitzer Prize winner, Olive Kitteridge, and her ability to discern vulnerabilities buried beneath bad behavior is as acute as ever. Another powerful examination of painfully human ambiguities and ambivalences—this gifted writer just keeps getting better.— Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review!)
Praise for My Name Is Lucy Barton
There is not a scintilla of sentimentality in this exquisite novel. Instead, in its careful words and vibrating silences, My Name is Lucy Barton offers us a rare wealth of emotion, from darkest suffering to—‘I was so happy. Oh, I was happy’—simple joy.— Claire Messud, New York Times Book Review
In her lovely and heartbreaking new novel…Elizabeth Strout has produced a major work in minimalist form…In the character of Lucy, Strout has fashioned one of the great resilient modern heroines.— Portland Press Herald
“[The novel is] potent with distilled emotion. Without a hint of self-pity, Strout captures the ached of loneliness we all feel sometimes, ‘with longings so large you can’t even weep.— Time
Spectacular… My Name is Lucy Barton is smart and cagey in every way. It is both a book of withholdings and a book of great openness and wisdom… [Elizabeth Strout] is in supreme and magnificent command of this novel at all times.— Lily King, Washington Post
[Strout’s] tender and moving novel should be read slowly, to savor the depths beneath what at first seems a simple story of a mother-daughter reconciliation…Her narrative voice is restrained yet expressive. This masterly novel’s message, made clear in the moving denouement, is that sometimes in order to express love, one has to forgive— Publishers Weekly
Praise for Olive Kitteridge
"A unified cycle of finely observed tales focusing on characters inhabiting a single town...[a] brilliant evocation of emotion...a gratifying stunner."— The Boston Globe
Perceptive, deeply empathetic, and even more deeply flawed, Olive is the axis around which these 13 complex, relentlessly human narratives spin themselves in Elizabeth Strout's unforgettable novel in stories, Olive Kitteridge...This is the essence of Olive, contradictory, locked down tight, but capable of flights of emotion all the more beautiful because of their infrequency.— O: The Oprah Magazine
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
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
Books by Elizabeth Strout
Media About Elizabeth Strout
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- Elizabeth Strout travels from New York, NY
Anything Is Possible
"It’s hard to believe that a year after the astonishing My Name Is Lucy Barton Elizabeth Strout could bring us another book that is by every measure its equal, but what Strout proves to us again and again is that where she’s concerned, anything is possible. This book, this writer, are magnificent." —Ann Patchett