Ann Patchett was born in Los Angeles in 1963, the youngest daughter of her nurse mother and police officer father. At the age of six, she and her mother and sister relocated to Nashville, Tennessee.
While attending Sarah Lawrence College, Patchett took fiction writing classes with Alan Gurganus, Russell Banks, and Grace Paley. She sold her first story to the Paris Review, where it was published before her graduation. Patchett then went on to attend the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop.
In 1990, Patchett won a residential fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. It is there that she wrote her first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars, which received a James A. Michener/ Copernicus Award for a book in progress. In 1993, she received a Bunting Fellowship from the Mary Ingrahm Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College.
Patchett's second novel, Taft, was awarded the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for the best work of fiction in 1994. Her third novel, The Magician's Assistant, was short-listed for England's Orange Prize and earned her a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1994. In October of the same year, just three days after the official release of The Magician's Assistant, Patchett was awarded the Nashville Banner Tennessee Writer of the Year Award.
The Patron Saint of Liars was adapted into a TV movie for CBS in 1997. Taft has been optioned by Morgan Freeman for a feature film for which Patchett wrote the screenplay. Patchett has also written for numerous publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Vogue, GQ, Elle, and Gourmet.
Ann Patchett's most recent awards, received for Bel Canto, include the PEN/Faulkner Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist. Patchett currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee.