University of New England - Innovation for a Healthier Planet

Ann Beattie papers, 1976-1996, undated

Full finding aid (pdf)

Collection Scope and Content

This collection consists of a 433-page typescript of Beattie’s novel Falling in Place (1981), with the author’s inscription on the title page, and a collection of personal correspondence from Beattie to Burt Britton from 1976-1996. Included among the 100 items are letters, postcards, greeting cards, telegrams, collages, drawings, clippings, photographs, place cards and ephemera, most of which were posted from Beattie’s home in Charlottesville, VA, as well as from Maine and places to which she traveled.

The nature of the content is personal, often humorous and off-beat, and includes descriptions of family life and travels, professional experiences and developments, commentary on the literary sphere and the world in general, and quirky gags and jokes. Beattie shares updates on the acquisition of her house in York, Maine, including legal issues that arose. Also included is one oversized matted photograph (undated and unsigned) inscribed by Beattie to Britton. Burt Britton is known for his 1976 book, Self-Portrait: Book People Picture Themselves, a compilation of over 700 self-portrait drawings by celebrated writers, artists, musicians, and others. Britton solicited the drawings during the mid-1960s and early 1970s from luminaries who visited the New York establishments where he worked, including the Village Vanguard, Sheridan Square Bookstore, the Strand Bookstore and his own Books & Company on Madison Avenue. A 1976 letter indicates that Beattie herself contributed a self-portrait to the project.

Biographical/Historical Note

The author of over 20 volumes of fiction (both novels and short story collections) Ann Beattie was born in 1947 in Washington, D.C., and earned her undergraduate degree from American University. She received her master’s degree from the University of Connecticut and began her writing career by publishing short stories in the Western Humanities Review, Ninth Letter, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker.

Beattie published her first novel, Chilly Scenes of Winter, in 1976. Other novels include Falling in Place (1981); Love Always (1986); Picturing Will (1989); Another You (1995); My Life, Starring Dara Falcon (1997); The Doctor’s House (2002); and Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines A Life (2011). Her short story collections include Distortions (1976); Secrets and Surprises (1978); The Burning House (1982); What Was Mine (1991); Where You’ll Find Me and Other Stories (1986); Park City (1998); Perfect Recall (2000); Follies: New Stories (2005); and The New Yorker Stories (2011). Stories by Ann Beattie have been included in four O. Henry Award collections and in John Updike’s Best American Short Stories of the Century. Her recent works include The State We’re In (2015), The Accomplished Guest (2017), and A Wonderful Stroke of Luck (2019).

In 2000, she received the PEN/Malamud Award for achievement in the short story form. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004, and in 2005 she received the Rea Award for the Short Story. She has taught at Harvard College and the University of Connecticut and presently is the Edgar Allan Poe Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia. Beattie summers in York, Maine.