Joan Didion


Biography of Joan Didion

Joan Didion (born December 5, 1934) is an American author best known for her novels and her literary journalism. Her novels and essays explore the disintegration of American morals and cultural chaos, where the overriding theme is individual and social fragmentation. A sense of anxiety or dread permeates much of her work.

Joan Didion was born in Sacramento, to parents Frank Reese and Eduene (née Jerrett) Didion. Didion recalls writing things down as early as age five, though she claims that she never saw herself as a writer until after being published. She read everything she could get her hands on after learning how to read and even needed written permission from her mother to borrow adult books, biographies especially, from the library at a young age. With this, she identified herself as being a "shy, bookish child", who pushed herself to overcome these personal obstacles through acting and public speaking.

As a child, Didion attended kindergarten and first grade. Because her father was in the Army Air Corps during World War II, her family was constantly relocated and she did not attend school on a regular basis. Then, at the age of nine or ten,[Which one?] in 1943 or early 1944, her family settled back in Sacramento, and her father went to Detroit to settle defense contracts for World War I and II. Didion wrote, in her 2003 memoir Where I Was From, that moving as often as her family did made her feel like a perpetual outsider.

In 1956, Didion graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in English. During her senior year, she won first place in an essay contest sponsored by Vogue, with the prize of a job at the magazine.

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