Tracy Chevalier

I have consistently loved books that I’ve read when I’ve been sick in bed.

– Tracy Chevalier


born in Washington, DC., The United States

gender: female
twitter username: Tracy_Chevalier
19 October 1962 in Washington, DC. Youngest of 3 children. Father was a photographer for The Washington Post.Childhood:
Nerdy. Spent a lot of time lying on my bed reading. Favorite authors back then: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madeleine L’Engle, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Joan Aiken, Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander. Book I would have taken to a desert island: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.

BA in English, Oberlin College, Ohio, 1984. No one was surprised that I went there; I was made for such a progressive, liberal place.

MA in creative writing, University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, 1994. There’s a lot of debate about whether or not you can be taught to write. Why doesn’t anyone ask that of professional singers, painters, dancers? That year forced me to write all the time and take it seriously.

Moved to London after graduating from Oberlin in 1984. I had studied for a semester in London and thought it was a great place, so came over for fun, expecting to go back to the US after 6 months to get serious. I’m still in London, and still not entirely serious. Even have dual citizenship – though I keep the American accent intact.

1 English husband + 1 English son + 1 tortoiseshell cat.

Before writing, was a reference book editor, working on encyclopedias about writers. (Yup, still nerdy.) Learned how to research and how to make sentences better. Eventually I wanted to fix my own sentences rather than others’, so I quit and did the MA.

Talked a lot about becoming a writer as a kid, but actual pen to paper contact was minimal. Started writing short stories in my 20s, then began first novel, The Virgin Blue, during the MA year. With Girl With a Pearl Earring (written in 1998), I became a full-time writer, and have since juggled it with motherhood


6 thoughts on “Tracy Chevalier

  1. October 19, 1962: Happy 51st birthday, Tracy Chevalier! Her best-selling novel, Girl with a Pearl Earring, was based on a painting by Johannes Vermeer. The writer bought a poster of the painting as a teenager.

  2. We can be taught to write, it will take a lot of practice like mwah 😛

  3. “I have consistently loved books that I’ve read when I’ve been sick in bed.”
    This is so true. I can think of a book and know exactly where I was when I read it. And being sick in bed is a good time to catch up on your reading. 🙂

  4. ‘actual pen to paper contact minimal’ 🙂 interesting mini biography – thank you!

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