Annie Proulx was born on August 22, 1935, Norwich, Connecticut in United States. She was a U.S. freelance journalist. She studied at the University of Vermont. She began professional writing with commissioned nonfiction books on cooking, gardening, and country living. She founded and edited (1984 - 86) Behind the Times, a rural Vermont newspaper, and published stories in men's outdoor magazines. Her first novel, Postcards (1992), depicting the decline of the small farm, received the PEN/Faulkner Award. Subsequent novels include The Shipping News (1993, Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award), Accordion Crimes (1996), and That Old Ace in the Hole (2002). Her short story "Brokeback Mountain" appeared in the collection Close Range (1999) and was adapted as a movie (2005). Her other story collections include Heart Songs (1988) and Bad Dirt (2004).
While she was certainly not an overnight sensation, having written stories from the age of ten and published short fiction since her early 20s, E. Annie Proulx did present her own remarkable success story, one characterized by hard work and a fierce independence. The measure of her success was impressive; with her first attempt at long-form fiction, Proulx won the respected PEN/Faulkner Award and the accolades of critics and fellow authors. David Bradley, writing for the New York Times, dubbed Postcards an example of "The Great American Novel." This acclaim snowballed with the publication of The Shipping News, which garnered three major prizes for Proulx and brought comparisons to legendary authors William Faulkner, Theodore Dreiser, and Herman Melville. There was an overwhelmingly positive response to what Sara Rimer, writing for the New York Times, characterized as Proulx's "offbeat, darkly comic voice and vivid sense of place."
From Free-lance Journalist to Novelist
Proulx was transformed into a novelist after 19 years of work as a free-lance journalist. She wrote articles for magazines on a myriad of topics, of which she offered these examples to Contemporary Authors: "weather, apples, canoeing, mountain lions, mice, cuisine, libraries, African beadwork, cider and lettuces." Her work appeared in publications such as Country Journal, Organic Gardening, and Yankee. In the early 1980s Proulx produced a shelf full of on-assignment "how-to" books on food, gardening, and carpentering, including Sweet & Hard Cider: Making It, Using It, and Enjoying It, The Fine Art of Salad Gardening, and Plan and Make Your Own Fences and Gates, Walkways, Walls and Drives. Another journalistic venture cast Proulx as the founder and editor of a rural newspaper, the Vershire Behind the Times, from 1984 to 1986. The financial rewards for such work were meager; devoting time to writing short stories was a luxury - Proulx averaged two a year, nearly all of which were published.
In tiny backwoods towns in Vermont, Proulx indulged her passion for fishing, hunting, and canoeing and lived the self-made, from-scratch lifestyle suggested by her free-lance assignments. She told Washington Post writer David Streitfeld of her love for places "where things are still done with a sort of awkward and almost tiresome physical input that's always so very ...