Ellen Gilchrist

1935 -

 

Ellen Gilchrist was born on February 20, 1935, near Vicksburg, Mississippi,  in Issaquena County.  At the age of fourteen, she wrote a column called "Chit and Chat About This and That" for a local Franklin, Kentucky, paper.   She attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she received a Bachelor's degree in philosophy. At nineteen, Gilchrist married Marshall Walker, an engineering student, and they had three children.   When she divorced Walker, she enrolled in a creative writing course at Millsaps College in Jackson, where she was taught by Eudora Welty. She also studied creative writing at the University of Arkansas.

     Ellen Gilchrist's first collection of short stories, In the Land of  Dreamy Dreams, was published by the University of  Arkansas Press in 1981 and reissued in hardcover and  paperback by Little, Brown and Company in 1985. Her  first novel,  The Annunciation, was published in 1983, and her second  collection of short stories, Victory Over Japan, for which she received the National Book Award for Fiction, was published in 1984. She now has more than seventeen books of her work published.  Ellen Gilchrist has received numerous awards, including the  Mississippi Arts Festival Poetry Award; the New York
Quarterly Craft in Poetry Award; the National Endowment of the Arts Grant in Fiction; and the Mississippi Academy of Arts
and Science Award for Fiction. In addition, she has received the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Literature Award
three times, for In the Land of Dreamy Dreams, Victory Over  Japan, and I Cannot Get You Close Enough.

     Although  Gilchrist presently lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, she maintains a house in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, as well.