Anthony Doerr was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the author of the story collections The Shell Collector and Memory Wall, the memoir Four Seasons in Rome, and the novels About Grace and All the Light We Cannot See, which was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. He served as guest editor for the 2019 Best American Short Stories, which will be released in October.

Doerr’s short stories and essays have won four O. Henry Prizes and been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, New American Stories, The Best American EssaysThe Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction, and lots of other places. His work has been translated into over forty languages and won the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, an Alex Award from the American Library Association, the National Magazine Award for Fiction, four Pushcart Prizes, two Pacific Northwest Book Awards, four Ohioana Book Awards, the 2010 Story Prize, which is considered the most prestigious prize in the U.S. for a collection of short stories, and the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, which is the largest prize in the world for a single short story. All the Light We Cannot See was a #1 New York Times bestseller, remained on the hardcover fiction bestseller list for 134 consecutive weeks, and is being adapted as a limited series by Netflix.

Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho with his wife and two sons. A number of media interviews with him are collected here. Though he is often asked, as far as he knows he is not related to the late writer Harriet Doerr.

If you’re interested in reading some of his work online, you can find a number of essays here, a story at Granta, and you can watch the actor Damian Lewis reading part of Doerr’s story “The Deep” here.

33 thoughts on “Biography

  1. Anthony! I just read your short story “the caretaker” and needless to say im blown away. I’m a filmmaker and would love with your permission to adapt it into a short film… Please email me and let me know what you think. I believe this story is perfect visually and I would love to translate the words to image.

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  3. I am reading All the Light We Cannot See. I felt I must interrupt my reading to tell you of my complete admiration for your storytelling skills and to thank you for this sublime work. I will be reading all your works now that I have discovered you. I am grateful to have found what resonates with such beauty in a world where it is rarely discovered. What a joy it is for me!

    J. Domangue

  4. ” All the Light We Cannot See” is one of the finest, best written novels I have ever experienced. Take for instance the chapter titled ” Are You There?” Second paragraph. Divine.
    The world needs ( and always has needed) more Fredericks.
    Mr. Doerr, if you ever have the time, I would so much appreciate a signed bookplate . Thank you.
    Bruce Sperber
    446 W. Charlotte St.
    Millersville, Pa. 17551

  5. I recently finished “Four Seasons in Rome” and enjoyed it so much. It inspires me to visit Rome, though maybe not with newborn twins.
    I hope there will come a day when your sons will read this book and realize how much care and love you and your wife put into the first year of their lives. They are so lucky.
    The way you use words is stunning.
    And thank you.
    Bruce Sperber, Lancaster, Pa.

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  7. I just read Life Lessons in Real Simple magazine and wanted to know it left me sobbing thinking about how many innovative homemade costumes my mom made me growing up. I was always jeleous of kids that ha fancy store bought ones but happily wore whatever mom made me with just the things around our house. I was everything from a bum to a flower made with cut out construction paper petals around my head. now at 43 in combination with my mother we make my 9 year old original costumes and she is so proud to wear them. I tell her the world doesn’t need another Malificent, Dorothy, or Princess Leia. last year she was a car hop on roller skates and this year she is Carmen Miranda. perhaps none of her friends know who that Chiqueta Bannana lady is but you can bet your socks off every door she goes to where the people are over 50 will adore her in innovative homemade costume. Anyways, your story made me tear up as it really hit home this morning. Thank you for being such a wonderful writer.


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  13. Our Book Club in Wilmington NC immersed ourselves in the lives of Werner and Marie-Laure this past month. This beautifully written descriptive story touched us all and gave us almost “real life” perspectives of both their circumstances. One question we wondered about was the process of writing the book. Did you develop the characters simultaneously or individually? Did you know how their lives would converge before you started writing? Is “the light” understanding? We loved the metaphors, the depth of your words, the entire book.

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  15. For several decades now I have been reading good writing, as defined by intelligent critics in anything and NYOB. I also have Over the last few decades I have tried to read all the books that have been universally acclaimed by smart critics like those at NYtT and NYOB praise. I have kept a record of the two dozen books I believe are best written—those with illuminating prose, unique and relevant metaphors and “sticky” sentence structures. I have read each at least twice.

    “All the Light We Cannot See”, the best novel I’ve read in some time, I knew would be added by the time I reached page 50. I will read it again this fall. It is a sleigh ride for the mind.

  16. Anthony, I am overwhelmed by All The Light We Cannot See. I chose it because of the WWll subject matter. My husband and I are 70 this summer. And this is the 70 Anniversary of D-Day, and the end of WWll. I won’t prattle on, but I’ve not seen anything regarding what prompted you to write this book. Is this something you would share? I’ve not finished the book yet, I’m reluctant for it to end, and am only to Werner coming to Sait Malo. I’m going to search for your other works. Beautiful !!!

  17. Eu fui na livraria Travessa aqui no Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, e achei a capa do livro absurdamente linda, e abri, li a sinopse, vi o nome do autor e quis muito um exemplar pra mim, tinha curiosidade de como um autor uniu guerra e amor, e então eu começei a ler “Toda Luz que não podemos ver”. No final do livro eu estava e estou extremamente comovida, emocionada, uma linda história, eu só queria que as páginas nunca acabassem, eu queria tanto abraçar Doerr e dizer que ele mudou minha vida com este livro. Quero ir à Saint-Malo rs… Amo você Doerr. Parabéns por sua obra.

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  20. “All the Light We Cannot See” ; the most compelling read. My boyfriend read the whole book aloud to me on a beach in Turkey, capturing our imaginations and those of others, on one day when Mark paused, another sun seeker actually asked him not to stop! We experienced the war through the senses of the characters with such emotion, several times Mark could not speak because he knew what was ahead, every chapter was captivating and we also felt we could navigate Saint-Malo. A read that will linger long after the final page; thank you.

  21. HUGE FAN!
    His work is so remarkably inspirational, and I’d probably cry more if I met him than if I met Dylan O’Brien. Thank you for sharing your work with others. Your book gave me a new set of polished eyes that I shall keep because oh, boy, how different everything now looks. Your metaphors I memorise, your characters I dream about. You inspired me to write a 45k word novel myself so thank you thank you thank you.

  22. Je n’ai jamais lu un livre si bien écrit. Vous avez écrit avec humanité et justesse. Je vous remercie, vous m’avez offert de très belles heures de lecture. J’ai tellement aimé que j’ai relu certains chapitres plus d’une fois.
    Merci pour ce que vous êtes.
    Lise Gauthier
    Québec, Canada

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  24. Dear Mr Doerr,

    My name is Flávia and I live in São Paulo, Brazil. I am forty three years old and my favourite subjects are Reading, Songs and Trips. I don’t have any hobby but I love talking to my friends about anything as much as possible.

    A few weeks ago my cousin let me know about your book All the Light We Cannot See and I immediately bought it and started reading it.

    I just read your book that touched me to tears several times especially from the subtitle called Berlim.

    The way you have written is amazing and it has caused me so many curiosities such as visiting Saint-Malo, walk through the gardens of the Natural History Museum in Paris among many other beautiful things like the mentioned songs.

    I would like to thank you for the kindness and niceness of your art of turning words into feelings, your words let me travel through time and space joying this beautiful work of art.
    Never stop writing because your sensitivity is a gift from God.

    Best regards, my admiration and my thanks.

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  32. Sir,
    I really don’t know what I was feeling today. I never felt it before. I just don’t know….. Marie’s and Werner’s lives cross in such a way and everyone was waiting for it… I bet… I was… I knew it. However when their lives cross… It was just for a second. The infiniteness, melancholy, tragic, physics, sufferings, cross just for a second and walk away in their own paths. All of their lives… Their lives really makes sense and does not at the same time. I really don’t know if I am talking rubbish but the whole thing____ Fredrick’s love for birds, Madame Manec’s codes, Etienne’s fear, Von Rumple’s patience, Marie’s pinecones in the window sill, Jutta and Werner’s radio…. Everything was the reality. I really didn’t know what to feel when I turned over the last pages. Was I supposed to shed my tears or have faith in the essence that the whole thing was reality and that’s what happens in real life as Madame Manec?
    When Werner died, I could not believe the whole point of your tragic story which brought me to tears and I cursed myself for getting so much absorbed in the book. Although when I turned over the last page, I realized that the reality was throbbing in my heart. I understood that I wanted the same thing as Werner; I wanted that day to last forever. I wanted them… their path to be infinite. I wanted them to be together. However every cloud does not have a silver lining and especially if it’s dark. Unfortunately, it was for Marie.
    Sir I loved every corner of your book. You gave me the urge to live through reality.. through physics. Suffer as everyone does… Its lockdown in our country due to the current COVID 19 circumstances. My parents are doctors. We are in a phase of mental reckless . Sir please stay safe. I don’t think you would get enough time to read this in your busy life. However if you ever read this, sir please answer my one question__ why did you give this title? Your ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ made me feel that without suffering one’s life is worthless. Suffering is a part of living. Your book made me feel that without suffering, my life is worthless. You gave my life back its colours in this phase just as the piano brought colours to Marie’s eyes. You showed me reality through fiction. Thank You.

    Auroshree Mallik

    just as little as the brave girl who entered Number 4 rue Vauborel for her first time

    Love from India

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