Donna Tartt '86

Image of Donna Tartt

The novels of Donna Tartt ’86, including The Secret History and The Goldfinch—winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction—have placed her in the pantheon of American writers.

She began writing The Secret History, a “reverse murder mystery” set in a fictional Vermont College, while at Bennington, alongside her classmates including Bret Easton Ellis, Jonathan Lethem, and Jill Eisenstadt. The book was on The New York Times best-seller list for 13 weeks.

The Goldfinch appeared in 2014 to much critical acclaim. The Pulitzer Prize jury hailed it as “a beautifully written coming-of-age novel with exquisitely drawn characters..., a book that stimulates the mind and touches the heart.”

In addition to winning the Pulitzer, Tartt also received the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and a National Book Critics Circle Award for The Goldfinch, among many other honors. In 2014, she was named to TIME magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people.

Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan