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Joan Didion


Joan Didion was born in 1934 in Sacramento. She graduated from the University of California in English. Her first story was published while still at university. She then won a prize in a Vogue competition and went to work for the magazine. While living in York, she published short stories and wrote for several magazines. She also met and married John Gregory Dunne, who was then an editor for Time magazine. Both Didion and Dunne published several books before moving to Hollywood where they worked on screenplays, including one of her novel Play It As It Lays. Didion wrote a lot of journalism and published essays, though she did write five novels. While she might be more remembered for her essays, her novels show a keen awareness of the problems the late twentieth century American woman faces. She died in 2021.

Books about Joan Didion

Tracy Daugherty: The Last Love Song

Other links

Joan Didion
Joan Didion, Writing a Story After an Ending
The Zen of Joan Didion
Joan Didion: Only Disconnect
Joan Didion: Why I Write
Legends of the fall (profile)
Overrated Writers, Part Two: Joan Didion
Joan Didion on Obama: ‘We All Have High Hopes, But Who Knows?’
After Life (on the death of her husband)
The Women’s Movement (article by Didion)


1963 Run River (novel)
1968 Slouching Towards Bethlehem (essays)
1970 Play It As It Lays (novel)
1977 A Book of Common Prayer (novel)
1978 Telling Stories (stories)
1979 The White Album (essays)
1983 Salvador (essay)
1984 Democracy (novel)
1987 Miami (politics)
1992 After Henry (UK: Sentimental Journey) (essays)
1996 The Last Thing He Wanted (novel)
2001 Political Fictions (essays)
2003 Where I Was From (essays)
2005 The Year of Magical Thinking (memoir)
2006 We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction
2011 Blue Nights (memoir)
2017 South and West (notebooks)
2021 Let Me Tell You What I Mean (essays)