Biography of Joan Didion

Joan Didion is an American writer known for her journalism, nonfiction, and literary works and a cool, incisive style. She was born on December 5, 1934 in Sacramento, California and moved often with her parents during her early childhood. In 1956, she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in English and went to work for the magazine Vogue for seven years, during which she wrote her first novel, Run, River (1963), and met and married her husband John Gregory Dunne. The couple moved to Los Angeles in 1964 and became active members of the cultural and literary scene there. Didion’s first nonfiction collection Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968), drawn from magazine pieces on contemporary life in California, earned her fame. She published her novels Play It As It Lays (1970) and A Book of Common Prayer (1977); The White Album (1979), another collection of magazine pieces; and Salvador (1983), a book-length essay on a trip to El Salvador. Over her career she worked closely with her husband. In recent years Didion has written two memoirs, The Year of Magical Thinking (2005) and Blue Nights (2011), about the deaths of her husband and daughter, respectively.

Study Guides on Works by Joan Didion