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Tracy Kidder Tracy Kidder WED, MAR 2, 2011, 7:30 PM Benaroya Hall \ S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium Sponsored by Swedish  

"Tracy Kidder may have just written his finest work — indeed, one of the truly stunning books I’ve read this year—proof that the secret to memorable nonfiction is so often the writer’s readiness to be surprised. Kidder has become a high priest of the narrative arts by diving deep into an improbable subject or character with little more than a hunch as to what he might eventually find.”
— Ron Suskind, The New York Times

In 1981, Kidder gained critical attention with publication of The Soul of a New Machine, a book celebrated for its insight into corporate, high tech America, which won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for Non-fiction in 1982. Kidder’s most recent book, Strength in What Remains (2009), received the Christopher Award, Books for a Better Life Award, and was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and the Indies Choice Book Award. His 2003 book, Mountains Beyond Mountains gained attention for its focus on Paul Farmer, the American physician who pioneered effective health care delivery to the poor in Haiti and throughout the world. Other works include House (1985) and Old Friends (1993).

Born in New York City in 1945, Tracy Kidder spent his childhood in Oyster Bay, Long Island where his father was a lawyer and his mother was a teacher. Kidder graduated from Phillips Academy in 1962, and went on to attend Harvard, graduating with a B.A. in English in 1967. He served as a first lieutenant in Vietnam, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star. His early writing took the form of essays and short stories about the Vietnam War, including “The Death of Major Great” (1974), “Soldiers of Misfortune” (1978), and “In Quarantine” (1980), which was called “the finest reporting to come out of Vietnam.” Following the war, Kidder obtained his M.F.A. in 1974 from the University of Iowa, where he participated in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. It was there that Kidder met Atlantic Monthly contributing editor Dan Wakefield, who helped him get his first assignment for the magazine as a freelance writer. Kidder’s articles have covered a broad array of topics, ranging from railroads to energy, architecture, and the environment; they have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, The New York Times Book Review and on The New York Times OpEd page. He lives in western Massachusetts and Maine.

Selected Work
Strength in What Remains (2009)
Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World (2003)
House (1999)
Among Schoolchildren (1990)
The Soul of a New Machine (1981)
 

Links

Review of Strength in What Remains (New York Times, August 2009)
 
Behind The Best Sellers: Tracy Kidder (New York Times, November 1981)
 
On Main Street With Tracy Kidder; A Dot on a Map Connected By People (New York Times, April 1999)
 
The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer: Tracy Kidder Tells of an American Doctor's Life, Mission in Haiti (NPR, October 2003)
John Updike
Literary\Arts Series, Literary legend John Updike discusses his work with fellow writer David Guterson and Seattle Art Museum Curator of American Art Patricia Junker. Photo by Libby Lewis