This week's featured writer is Annie Proulx. I first encountered Proulx when I read her novel Postcards, which I thought was brilliant. Postcards won the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1993, then Proulx was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and the National Book Award for The Shipping News. Proulx lived in Vermont for more than thirty years, and has been married and divorced three times (she has four grown children). The first interview I read with her discussed her early beginnings as a writer, living in obscurity and poverty; she first made a living as a free-lance writer, writing mostly for outdoors magazines. Her first stories were published in Gray's Sporting Journal. Even after achieving success with The Shipping News, Proulx has continued to live a quiet, almost reclusive life.
Proulx doesn't give many interviews, but her Paris Review: The Art of Fiction is an extensive interview in which the writer discusses her writing and research methods--it's worth digging up a copy of the magazine. There is also this interview at Bookslut.http://www.bookslut.com/features/2005_12_007310.php
Heartsongs and Other Stories (1988) is the first short story collection published by Proulx. Details from some of the stories in this collection still stick with me years after reading the collection. Proulx gets so deep inside her ornery, anti-social, thwarted characters that they become unforgettable. The stories in Heartsong are set in New England, but her next three story collections are set in Wyoming: Close Range: Wyoming Stories; Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2; and Fine Just the Way it Is: Wyoming Stories 3. If you like stories about ordinary people, so true they hurt, you will love the stories of Annie Proulx.