Amanda Eyre Ward
was born in New York City in 1972. Her family moved to Rye, New York when she was four. Amanda attended Kent School in Kent, CT, where she wrote for the Kent News
Amanda majored in English and American Studies at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. She studied fiction writing with Jim Shepard and spent her junior fall in coastal Kenya. She worked part-time at the Williamstown Public Library. After graduation, Amanda taught at Athens College in Greece for a year, and then moved to Missoula, Montana.
Amanda studied fiction writing at the University of Montana with Bill Kittredge, Dierdre McNamer, Debra Earling, and Kevin Canty, receiving her MFA. After traveling to Egypt, she took a job at the University of Montana Mansfield Library, working in Inter Library Loan.
In 1998, Amanda moved to Austin, Texas where she began working on Sleep Toward Heaven
. She wrote for the Austin Chronicle
and worked for a variety of Internet startups. In 1999, Amanda won third prize in the Austin Chronicle
short story contest with her story Miss Montana’s Wedding Day
She published Butte as in Beautiful
that same year.
In July, 2000, Amanda married the geologist Tip Meckel in Ouray, Colorado
They spent a summer in New Orleans, Louisiana, where Amanda wrote the short stories The Beginning of the Wrong Novel
During that summer, Amanda finished Sleep Toward Heaven
, which was published in 2003. Sleep Toward Heaven
won the Violet Crown Book Award and was optioned for film by Sandra Bullock and Fox Searchlight. To promote Sleep Toward Heaven
, Amanda, her baby, and her mother Mary-Anne Westley traveled to London and Paris.
Amanda moved to Waterville, Maine, where she wrote in an attic filled with books. Amanda’s second novel, How to Be Lost
, was published in 2004. How to Be Lost
was selected as a Target Bookmarked pick, and has been published in fifteen countries.
After one year in Maine and two years on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Amanda and her family returned to Austin, Texas.
To research her third novel, Forgive Me
, Amanda traveled with her sister, Liza Ward Bennigson, to Cape Town, South Africa. Forgive Me
was published in 2007.
Amanda's short story collection, Love Stories in This Town,
was published in April, 2009.
Her new novel, Close Your Eyes
, published in July, 2011, received a four-star reiew in People Magazine, won the Elle Lettres Readers' Prize for September, and inspired the Dallas Morning News to write, "With CLOSE YOUR EYES, Austin novelist Amanda Eyre Ward puts another jewel in her crown as the reigning doyenne of 'dark secrets' literary fiction."
Close Your Eyes
was named in Kirkus' Best Books of 2011, and won the Elle Magazine Fiction Book of the Year. It was released in paperback in August, 2012.
Amanda currently writes every morning and spends afternoons with her children.