Elizabeth Gilbert is a bestselling author and speaker. Her memoir 'Eat, Pray, Love' has been translated into more than 30 languages and has sold over ten million copies worldwide.
The book—which The New York Times Book Review says is “fueled by a mix of intelligence, wit, and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible”—catapulted its author from respected but little-recognized writer to a woman Oprah Winfrey has called a “rock star author.”
Educated at New York University, Elizabeth Gilbert hails from an ascetic childhood in rural Connecticut. Fearless reporting skills and an abiding appreciation for working-class values have colored her writing from the beginning. Meanwhile, a persistent longing to understand the world and her place in it have made her not merely a writer, but an explorer. Gilbert worked in a Philadelphia diner, on a western ranch and in a New York City bar to scrape together the funds to travel: “to create experiences to write about, gather landscapes and voices.” Gilbert’s writing was published in Harper’s Bazaar, Spin, and TheNew York Times Magazine. Her work in Spin caught the attention of editors at GQ, and she became a stalwart at that publication, producing vivid, provocative pieces that soon grew into books and even a film: 2000’s Coyote Ugly. Gilbert was a Finalist for the National Magazine Award, and her work was anthologized in Best American Writing 2001.
Gilbert’s first book, a wide-ranging collection of short fiction called Pilgrims, was a New York Times Most Notable Book and won the Ploughshares prize, among many other honors. Her first novel, Stern Men, won the Kate Chopin Award in 2001. Her third book, The Last American Man, which compellingly explores America’s long-standing intrigue with the pioneer lifestyle, was a Finalist for the National Book Award.
“I think my gift, far beyond whatever gifts that I have as a writer, my gift as a human is that I can make friends with people very quickly. Everything I learned about being a journalist I learned by being a bartender. The most exquisite lesson of all is that people will tell you anything. Want to. There’s no question you can’t ask if your intention is not hostile. And it’s not like entrapment; it’s more like a gorgeous revelation. People want to tell the story that they have.”
With Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert attracted an adoring international audience. The courage and humor that mark Eat, Pray, Love make it the kind of book that people keep on their nightstands for years, pages flagged, passages highlighted, margins filled with the reader’s own thoughts and revelations. In 2010, Eat, Pray, Love was made into a feature film starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem—an experience Gilbert has called “surreal,” “amazing” and “touching.”
In 2010, Gilbert published Committed: A Love Story, the breathlessly anticipated follow-up to Eat, Pray, Love. Committed tells the story of Gilbert’s unexpected plunge into second marriage—this time to Felipe, the man with whom she falls in love at the end of Eat, Pray, Love. Part memoir, part meditation on marriage as a sociohistorical institution, Committed is rich with Gilbert’s trademark humor, sparkling prose, and warm, intimate voice.
Named as one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, NPR, and Time, Gilbert’s novel The Signature of All Things is a sweeping story of botany, exploration and desire, spanning across much of the 19th century. The author’s first novel in over a decade, it was described by O, The Oprah Magazine as “the novel of a lifetime” and praised by The Washington Post as “that rare literary achievement: a big, panoramic novel about life and love that captures the idiom and tenor of its age.” It is being produced as a miniseries by PBS’s Masterpiece.
Ten years ago, Gilbert captivated the world with her powerful and transformative memoir Eat, Pray, Love, encouraging millions of readers to make changes, large and small, in their own lives. In the ensuing decade, people worldwide have sought further advice from Gilbert on how to lead a bold and inspired life and she has dedicated herself to exploring the mysteries of creativity and courage. Out of this period of investigation Gilbert has written a brilliant nonfiction treatise, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, in which the author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity.
Gilbert lives in New Jersey where she is working on her next novel and as a columnist for O, the Oprah magazine.