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Tracy Kidder

Dorsett Fellow - Spring 2010

Lecture: "Strength in What Remains" (May 3rd, 2010)

BIOGRAPHY - Born in New York City in 1945, Kidder spent his childhood in Oyster Bay, Long Island, where his father was a lawyer and his mother a teacher. He attended Harvard where he earned a BA in 1967. From June 1968 until June 1969, he served as a lieutenant in Vietnam for which he was awarded a Bronze Star.

Following the war, Kidder obtained his MA from the University of Iowa, where he participated in the Writers’ Workshop, a program known for the literary accomplishments of its faculty and alumni. It was there that Kidder met Atlantic Monthly Contributing Editor Dan Wakefield, who helped him get his first assignment for the magazine as a freelance writer. Kidder’s articles in The Atlantic have covered a broad array of topics, ranging from railroads, to energy, architecture, the environment among others.

I’m a little suspicious of the great, overarching view. It always leaves something out. What interests me is trying to catch the reflection of the human being on the page. I’m interested in how ordinary people live their lives.

—Tracy Kidder                 

Tracy Kidder’s writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Granta and The New York Times Book Review and The New York Times OpEd page and he has also written several short works of fiction. Kidder lives with his wife in western Massachusetts and in Maine.

Description of Strength in What Remains
Tracy Kidder's book delivers the humbling story of Deo, a young man whose will to survive and love of knowledge take him from the horrors of genocide in Burundi to Columbia University and then on to medical school at Dartmouth College--a brilliant testament to the power of second chances and an inspiring account of one immigrant's remarkable American journey. Dr. Paul Farmer and Partners in Health also play a pivotal role in Deo’s story, as they inspire him to transform the nightmares of his deeply impoverished and war torn country into the dream of establishing his own clinic in Burundi.


Selected Books

Strength in What Remains (Random House, 2009)
My Detachment (Random House, 2005)
Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World (Random House, 2003)
Home Town (Random House, 1999)
Old Friends (Houghton Mifflin, 1993)
Among Schoolchildren (Houghton Mifflin, 1989)
House (Houghton Mifflin, 1985)
The Soul of a New Machine (Little, Brown, 1981)

Selected Awards

1989 Robert F. Kennedy Award Winner for Among Schoolchildren
1982 National Book Award Winner for Soul of a New Machine
1982 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Soul of a New Machine

Last Updated: 12/9/10