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Didion, Joan

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Born: 1934 AD
Currently alive, at 80 years of age.

Nationality: American
Categories: Novelists

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1934 - Joan Didion was born on December 5th, in Sacramento, California, the daughter of Frank Reese and Eduene (Jerrett) Didion.  Although she is perhaps best known as a precise and graceful essayist, Joan Didion has also triumphed as a novelist and, with her husband, as a screenwriter.

1956 - The family ultimately settled in California, where Didion graduated from the University of California at Berkeley.

1963 - While at Vogue, Didion composed her first novel, "Run River". Published and set in Didion's birthplace, Sacramento, California, Run River centered around the troubled marriage of protagonist Lily Knight McClellan.

1964 - Didion's partner in life and sometimes in work is writer John Gregory Dunne, whom she met. They were married and adopted a baby girl, Quintana Roo, and spent 25 years in California. They have worked together intermittently ever since Dunne helped edit Didion's first book, Run River.

1968 - Her first collection, "Slouching Towards Bethlehem", was published. The book was a collection of essays that had been previously published in such periodicals as American Scholar, California Monthly, New York Times Magazine, and the Saturday Evening Post.

1970 - Despite sometimes nasty reviews, Didion continued to explore the dark side of human nature with her novels. The controversial "Play It as It Lays", was published. It became a bestseller and was nominated for a National Book Award.

1973 - Didion's third novel was inspired by a disastrous trip she took with her husband to a film festival in Colombia. Ailing in her hotel room, Didion conceived "A Book of Common Prayer", the story of a Californian whose daughter joins a terrorist group in a fictional Latin American nation.

1977 - The book "A Book of Common Prayer" was published.

1979 - A second collection of Didion essays, "The White Album", was published by Simon and Schuster. Also composed of writings originally published elsewhere, The White Album is named for the legendary, untitled Beatles album, which Didion said epitomized the 1960s for her

1983 - Didion didn't let psychiatric troubles scare her away from writing. Published Didion's nonfiction work "Salvador" chronicled personal observations of a grueling visit she took with her husband to the war-torn Latin American country of El Salvador.

1984 - "Democracy", Didion's book, became a national bestseller. Still, reviews revealed critics' frustration.

1987 - Didion's "Miami", a nonfiction work, explored the intricacies of a city whose population, by the late 1980s, was 56 percent Cuban. The ripples stirred by Miami's volatile mix, Didion argued, reverberated throughout the United States, especially its government.

1992 - "After Henry", Didion's nonfiction collection, is named for her editor, friend, and mentor Henry Robbins, who died. Released in the United Kingdom under the title Sentimental Journeys, the book showcased 12 essays.

1996 - Published the political thriller and love story "The Last Thing He Wanted" was Didion's first novel in 12 years.

         - The writers spent eight years working on a script for the film "Up Close and Personal", which starred Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert Redford.


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Page last updated: 12:28am, 08th Mar '07

  • "Character--the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life--is the source from which self-respect springs."
  • "The willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life Is the source from which self-respect springs."