Photo Credit: Heidi Ross

In this episode of “Literary Arts: The Archive Project,” Ann Patchett retraces the steps that lead to her 2013 essay collection, “This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage.” With a seemingly endless wellspring of wit and charm, Patchett takes us a series of adventures that ultimately lead to her first and only collection of essays. From refilling ketchup bottles to writing pieces for “Seventeen” and “Vogue” to opening up her own bookstore, Parnassus, Patchett effortlessly weaves the story of her literary journey. Simultaneously humorous and deeply personal, Patchett’s lecture gives the listener a peek into the rich and often meandering path of one of literature’s great voices.


Ann Patchett is the author of seven novels, “The Patron Saint of Liars,” “Taft,” “The Magician’s Assistant,” “Bel Canto,” “Run,” “State of Wonder,” and “Commonwealth.” She was the editor of “Best American Short Stories, 2006,” and has written three books of nonfiction– “Truth & Beauty,” about her friendship with the writer Lucy Grealy, “What Now?” an expansion of her graduation address at Sarah Lawrence College, and “This is the Story of a Happy Marriage,” a collection of essays examining the theme of commitment. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Patchett has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, and her books have been both “New York Times” Notable Books and “New York Times” bestsellers. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. In November, 2011, she opened Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, with her business partner Karen Hayes. In 2012 she was named by “Time” magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.