Joan Didion – Biography and Works

Joan Didion was born and raised in Sacramento, California, to a well-established land-owning family whose roots in the area date back to the settlement of the Sacramento Valley during the 1840s. Didion received an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley (1956), and then moved to New York City, to become associate editor of Vogue magazine.


Joan Didion



Shortly after her marriage in 1964 to John Gregory Dunne, a journalist and script-writer, she and her husband moved to Los Angeles, where they continue to live and carry on their separate and collaborative writing activities. Didion had written four novels. Run River (1963), Play It as It Lays (1970), A Book of Common Prayer (1977), and Democracy (1984). She has also collaborated with her husband on two screenplays. But she is best known for her intensely personal essays that bear witness to the unstable culture of contemporary America, particularly in her home state of California. Her essays have appeared in The American Scholar, Holiday, Mademoiselle, The National Review, The New Yorker, Life, and The Saturday Evening Post, and they have been collected in two highly praised volumes, Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968), and The White Album (1979). Recently, she has turned her observations to more directly political subjects in her book length essay, Salvador (1983), and Miami (1987).

Joan Didion

On the Road (Essay)

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