About the Author
Andrea Barrett was born in Boston in 1954, grew up on Cape Cod, and later attended Union College, where she graduated with a degree in biology. She began writing fiction seriously in her thirties and published her first novel, Lucid Stars, in 1988. She’s particularly well known as a writer of historical fiction.
Barrett, whose work reflects her lifelong interest in science and natural history, received the National Book Award for her fifth book, Ship Fever, a collection of stories featuring scientists, doctors, and naturalists. In 2001 she received a MacArthur Fellowship and was also a Fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. Servants of the Map was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. In addition to other prizes and awards she’s also been a finalist for The Story Prize and received the Rea Award for the Short Story.
Since Ship Fever, Barrett’s books have included recurring characters and families, which weave through different locations and several centuries to form a loose web. In The Air We Breathe, she first supplied a family tree that made clear some of the characters’ relationships. An updated and larger family tree appears in Natural History and in paperback re-issues of earlier books. Although the novels and stories are all self-contained, they reverberate differently for readers familiar with the characters’ previous histories.
Barrett has lived in Rochester, NY and in western Massachusetts, where she taught creative writing for fifteen years at Williams College. She and her husband, photographer Barry Goldstein, now live on the eastern side of the Adirondack Mountains, in the Champlain Valley.