Alice McDermott: Biography

Alice McDermott

27 jun 1953

Alice McDermott is an American novelist, essayist and university professor. McDermott was born in 1953 in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from the State University of New York at Oswego in 1975. She went on to study at the University of New Hampshire, graduating with an MA in 1978. She has held teaching positions at UCSD and American University, she has held writer-in-residence positions at Lynchburg College and at Hollins College.

Her second novel, That Night, was published in 1987 by Picador. It was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. It takes place in the 1960s and is told from the perspective of a 10-year-old girl who becomes fascinated by the romantic lives of others. In 1992, it was adapted for film by Craig Bolotin. McDermott was awarded an American Book Award and a US National Book Award for Fiction for her novel Charming Billy, which was published in 1998.

As well as novels, McDermott has written many essays and articles. Her works of non-fiction have appeared in publications such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. In 2013, she was given an induction into the New York Writers Hall of Fame.

Alice McDermott now lives on the outskirts of Washington D.C. with her neuroscientist husband and their three children. She was raised as a Catholic, and still considers herself to belong to the faith, although she herself has professed to be ‘not a very good Catholic’. She is currently Richard A. Macksey Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.