Edna Ann Proulx (/ˈpruː/; born August 22, 1935) is an American novelist, short story writer, and journalist. She has written most frequently as Annie Proulx but has also used the names E. Annie Proulx and E.A. Proulx.
She won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her first novel, Postcards. Her second novel, The Shipping News (1993), won both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction and was adapted as a 2001 film of the same name. Her short story "Brokeback Mountain" was adapted as an Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe Award-winning major motion picture released in 2005.
Proulx was born Edna Ann Proulx in Norwich, Connecticut, the daughter of Lois Nellie (Gill) and George Napoleon Proulx. Her first name honored one of her mother's aunts. She is of English and French-Canadian ancestry. Her maternal forebears came to America fifteen years after the Mayflower, in 1635. She graduated from Deering High School in Portland, Maine, then attended Colby College "for a short period in the 1950s", where she met her first husband H. Ridgely Bullock, Jr. She later returned to college, studying at the University of Vermont from 1966 to 1969, and graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. degree in History in 1969. She earned her M.A. degree from Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) in Montreal, Quebec in 1973 and pursued, but did not complete, a Ph.D. In 1999, Concordia awarded her an honorary doctorate.
Proulx lived for more than 30 years in Vermont, has married and divorced three times, and has three sons and a daughter (named Jonathan, Gillis, Morgan, and Sylvia). In 1994, she moved to Saratoga, Wyoming, spending part of the year in northern Newfoundland on a small cove adjacent to L'Anse aux Meadows. Proulx now lives in Seattle, Washington.
Proulx has four sisters: twins Joyce and Janet, who live in Louisiana and Florida respectively; Roberta, of Fairlee, Vermont; and Jude, another writer who lives in Wales.
Writing career and recognition
Starting as a journalist, her first published work of fiction is thought to be "The Customs Lounge", a science fiction story published in the September 1963 issue of If, under the byline "E.A. Proulx". Another contender, a year later, was a science fiction story called "All the Pretty Little Horses", which appeared in teen magazine Seventeen in June 1964. She subsequently published stories in Esquire magazine and Gray's Sporting Journal in the late 1970s, eventually publishing her first collection in 1988 and her first novel in 1992. Subsequently, she was awarded NEA (in 1992) and Guggenheim (in 1993) fellowships.
A few years after receiving much attention for The Shipping News, she had the following comment on her celebrity status:
It's not good for one's view of human nature, that's for sure. You begin to see, when invitations are coming from festivals and colleges to come read (for an hour for a hefty sum of money), that the institutions are head-hunting for trophy writers. Most don't particularly care about your writing or what you're trying to say. You're there as a human object, one that has won a prize. It gives you a very odd, ginger kind of sensation.
In 1997, Annie Proulx was awarded the Dos Passos Prize. Proulx has twice won the O. Henry Prize for the year's best short story. In 1998, she won for "Brokeback Mountain", which had appeared in The New Yorker on October 13, 1997. Proulx won again the following year for "The Mud Below," which appeared in The New Yorker June 22 and 29, 1999. Both appear in her 1999 collection of short stories, Close Range: Wyoming Stories. The lead story in this collection, entitled "The Half-Skinned Steer", was selected by author Garrison Keillor for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories 1998, (Proulx herself edited the 1997 edition of this series) and later by novelist John Updike for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories of the Century (1999). In 2001 Proulx was one of the writers heavily criticized by Brian Reynolds Myers in his polemical work A Reader's Manifesto.
In 2007, the composer Charles Wuorinen approached Proulx with the idea of turning her short story "Brokeback Mountain" into an opera. The opera of the same name with a libretto by Proulx herself premiered January 28, 2014 at the Teatro Real in Madrid, to mixed reviews.