Anne Fadiman is an author, essayist, editor, and teacher. Her best-selling book Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader is a collection of essays originally published in the Library of Congress’s Civilization magazine, where Fadiman served as one of the founding editors. It is a book entirely about books—from the purchasing of them, to the reading of them, to the handling of them (always write in the margins; go ahead and crack the spines; pay no mind if you drop crumbs between the pages; shelve American literature alphabetically by author, English literature chronologically). The London Observer called Ex Libris “witty, enchanting, and supremely well-written.” It has been or will be translated into thirteen languages, including Korean and Catalan.
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (1997), Fadiman’s first book, chronicles the trials of an epileptic Hmong child and her family living in Merced, California. Fadiman’s sensitive, incisive treatment of the unbreachable gulf between the Hmong and American medical systems won her a National Book Critics Circle Award. The Washington Post called the book “an intriguing, spirit-lifting, extraordinary exploration.”
Her essays and articles have appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, and The New York Times, among many other publications. She has won National Magazine Awards for both reporting and essays. Anne Fadiman is the editor of the 2003 edition of Best American Essays.
Anne Fadiman also edits The American Scholar, a literary quarterly that has been published since 1932. In 2005 she will begin an appointment as the first Francis Writer in Residence at Yale.
[Please note: Anne Fadiman appeared in the place of Susan Sontag, who cancelled due to medical reasons.]