Donna Tartt is an American writer, the author of the novels The Secret History, The Little Friend, and The Goldfinch. Tartt won the WH Smith Literary Award for The Little Friend in 2003 and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for The Goldfinch in 2014.
Tartt was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta, and raised in the nearby town of Grenada.
She enrolled in the University of Mississippi in 1981, and her writing caught the attention of Willie Morris while she was a freshman. Following a recommendation from Morris, Barry Hannah, then an Ole Miss writer in residence, admitted the eighteen-year-old Tartt into his graduate course on the short story. "She was deeply literary," said Hannah. "Just a rare genius, really. A literary star." Following the suggestion of Morris and others, she transferred to Bennington College in 1982, where she was friends with fellow students Bret Easton Ellis, Jill Eisenstadt, and Jonathan Lethem. At Bennington she studied classics with Claude Fredericks. She dated Ellis for a while after they shared their works in progress, The Secret History and Less Than Zero, respectively.
In 2002, Tartt was reportedly working on a retelling of the myth of Daedalus and Icarus for the Canongate Myth Series, a series of novellas in which ancient myths are re-imagined and re-written by contemporary authors. In 2006, Tartt's short story "The Ambush" was included in the Best American Short Stories 2006.