Lydia Millet

Portrait Lydia Millet
© Ivory Orchid

Lydia Millet was born in 1968 in Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up in Toronto, Canada, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, with highest honors in creative writing, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned a master’s degree in environmental policy from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, and worked for the Natural Resources Defense Council for two years before joining the Center for Biological Diversity in 1999.

Millet’s debut »Omnivores« (1996) is a satirical coming-of-age novel; tormented by her megalomaniac father and sickly mother, a young girl living in southern California is eventually forced to marry a real estate agent. »George Bush, Dark Prince of Love« (2000) is a political comedy about a woman living in a trailer park, who becomes romantically obsessed with the 41st president of the United States. The novella »My Happy Life« (2002) is a poetic and powerfully eloquent tale about a loner, locked away in an abandoned psychiatric hospital, who writes her life story, which spans decades and continents, on the wall. Although this woman’s life has been tragic and full of physical abuse, violation and loss, she has managed to protect her soul from these horrors, and to be happy and see beauty in everything. »Everyone’s Pretty« (2005), a picaresque novel about a deranged, alcoholic pornographer, was inspired by editors employed by Larry Flynt, the larger-than-life »Hustler Magazine« publisher for whom Millet worked as a copy editor. »Magnificence« (2012), the concluding novel in a trilogy, is about a woman who, after the death of her husband and dissolution of her family, inherits a manor house from her uncle. While she is sorting through his possessions she reflects on her past. In »Mermaids in Paradise« (2014) the biting satire of Millet’s early writing is softened by empathy and subtlety. On their Caribbean honeymoon two newlyweds learn that mermaids have been spotted in a coral reef. They join forces with a couple of oddballs and pit themselves against a corporation intent on capturing the mermaids and exhibiting them in a theme park. Millets latest novel »Sweet Lamb of Heaven« (2016) is a thriller in which a young mother is persecuted by her cruel husband.

Millet is the recipient of the PEN Center USA Award for Fiction (2003), among other awards, and was a Pulitzer Prize and Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist. The author lives in Tucson.