A highly regarded author of short stories and novels, Anne Tyler is known for her fiction exploring the vicissitudes of human existence in late 20th-century America. Tyler’s readers readily identify with her complex Characters and see their own experiences mirrored in her fiction. While Tyler has yet to write a young adult novel, her adult fiction often makes readers of many ages laugh out loud, and also makes them think-about life, loss, family, death, and all aspects of the human condition.
Tyler was born on October 25, 1941, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her parents were members of the Society of Friends and liberal activists, and the family lived in a series of Quaker communes across the Midwest and South. Anne read voraciously as a child and began to write stories at the age of seven. When she was eleven, the family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where she attended public school for the first time. The alienation she experienced at that time became a recurring theme in her writing.
Tyler attended Duke University on academic scholarship, studying creative writing and Russian. Although she wrote simply “for something to do,” she received the Anne Flexner Award for creative writing twice. Her short stories were published throughout her college years. At nineteen, Tyler graduated from Duke after three years, with a B.A. in Russian.
In 1961, after a year of graduate studies at Columbia University, Tyler returned to Duke. There, she worked as a Russian language bibliographer until 1963. She married and moved to Montreal, Quebec, where her husband studied medicine. While in Montreal, she worked as an assistant librarian and wrote her first two novels, Morning Ever Comes (1964) and The Tin Can Tree (1965). In 1967 Tyler and her family moved to Baltimore, Maryland. Once her children were in school, she began writing full-time. In 1970 she published A Slipping-Down Life, followed by The Clock Winter in 1972. Her 1985 novel The Accidental Tourist was made into a film of the same name in 1988.