Queen of the Day Why Pulitizer Prize-Winner Donna Tartt Is My Role Model Kit Steinkellner

Tartt's author photo=the coolest.

I wanted to throw a parade when I found out that Donna Tartt won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel The Goldfinch. I know parades are usually only for, like, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July, but if we were going to organize a national holiday around a living author, I’d vote for Tartt.

I’ve been the biggest fan of Tartt’s ever since I ferociously ate her first novel, The Secret History. She’s a big-time role model of mine and in honor of her winning the fanciest and most important American literary prize you can win, I think it’s time to talk about why she should be a role model for us all.

1.) She writes to the beat of her own drum. Tartt’s published three doorstop-sized novels and it’s taken her about a decade to write each one. Ten years is a hella long time but Tartt is all “Whatever hares of the world, I am a tortoise, and if it takes me the rest of this month to finish the next sentence of my novel, then that’s how it’s going to be.” All the methodical and painstaking work pays off. A Tartt novel reads like nothing you’ve ever laid your eyes on. They’re Hitchcock films meets Shakespearean tragedies with a little bit of 90’s mopey teen WB dramas thrown in for awesomeness.

2.) Part of the reason why her books take so long is because every sentence is perfect. Next time you’re at a bookstore go to the fiction section, look up T for Tartt, grab any one of her books, flip to any page, and just marvel.

3.) She’s the most reclusive and magical of author creatures. In the age of oversharing, Tartt doesn’t Facebook or tweet (and she most certainly does NOT Instagram). She doesn’t even appear to have a website. She has a handful of interviews with important newspapers. That’s it. She’s such a mysterious human!  I have no idea what she does all day. I have no clue what she ate for lunch yesterday or ever. In a world where everybody’s talking, it’s really something for an artist to hole up, stay quiet, and let her work speak for itself.

4.) She’s a straight-up fashion icon. (See her author photo above.) I deeply admire and envy women who cultivate a signature style and maintain it for, like, more than two days. Tartt has the bossest of signature styles.  Her sleek mid-length bob is so geometrically precise she must get it cut every eight hours. And nobody, and I mean nobody does menswear-inspired womenswear like Tartt. Those blazers! Those pinstripes! And those ties, she wears ties like it’s a thing women do. It’s a thing women should do.

5.) As fancy as she is, she hasn’t let any of her incredibly, mounting success go to her head. When interviewed about her Pulitzer for USA Today, Tartt said she was “very happy and very delighted and surprised.” When asked, “Why surprised?” she responded, “Wouldn’t you be surprised?”  Lord love a lady who does not buy into her own hype.

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  1. God, I love this. I read the Secret History a few years ago and adored it, although I haven’t gotten around to reading the Goldfinch yet. (It’s on my list!) I’ve always thought Tartt seems like the impossibly cool aunt that is perfectly dressed and impossibly smart.

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