Donna Tartt was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta, and raised in the nearby town of Grenada.
She enrolled in the University of Mississippi in 1981, and her writing caught the attention of Willie Morris while she was a freshman. A literary star." Following the suggestion of Morris and others, she transferred to Bennington College in 1982, where she was friends with fellow students Bret Easton Ellis, Jill Eisenstadt, and Jonathan Lethem, and studying classics with Claude Fredericks.
Following a recommendation from Morris, Barry Hannah, then an Ole Miss Writer-in-Residence, admitted eighteen-year-old Tartt into his graduate short story course. She dated Ellis for a while after sharing works in progress, The Secret History and Less Than Zero respectively.
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