American novelist and short story writer Annie Proulx was born on August 22, 1935, in Norwich, Connecticut. She was the eldest of five daughters born to George Napoleon Proulx and Lois Proulx. When she was young her family moved to various New England locations. She graduated from high school in Maine and briefly attended Colby College, where she met her first husband.
In 1966, Proulx returned to her studies, and she received a BA in history from the University of Vermont in 1969. She went on to earn an MA from Concordia University in Montreal in 1973 and completed much of her work toward a PhD before leaving in 1975 to pursue her goal of becoming a freelance writer. She started by contributing articles to hunting and fishing magazines and in the 1980s published several nonfiction books, including how-to books about gardening.
However, her true calling lay in writing fiction, and in 1988 she published her first collection of short stories, Heart Songs and Other Stories (1988), set in rural Vermont. Her first novel, Postcards (1992) won the Pen/Faulkner Award, and her second, The Shipping News, published just one year later, won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize. As a result of this recognition, more attention was paid to Proulx’s short stories, and Heart Songs was reprinted, with the addition of two more stories, in 1995. Reviewers responded enthusiastically.
The following year Proulx published another novel, Accordion Crimes, and in 1999 she published her second collection of short stories, Close Range: Wyoming Stories, set in Wyoming. It was in this collection that “Brokeback Mountain” appeared. The story had first been published in the New Yorker in October 1997. It won a National Magazine Award and was selected for a 1998 O. Henry Short Story Award.It was also adapted into a very successful movie in 2005, directed by Ang Lee. The movie won numerous awards, including three Academy Awards, for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score;and four Golden Globe awards, for Best Motion Picture-Drama, Best Director, Best Song, and Best Screenplay.
In the meantime, Proulx had published her fourth novel, That Old Ace in the Hole (2002) and another short story collection, Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2(2004). Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming Stories 3, followed in 2008.In 2011, she published Bird Cloud: A Memoir.
Proulx has married and divorced three times. She has three sons and a daughter. As of 2015, she lives in Seattle, Washington.