Annie Dillard (born April 30, 1945) was born Meta Annie Doak in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She attended The Ellis School throughout her childhood and first began writing poetry while in high school there. She earned her B.A. and M.A. at the all-female Hollins University (then Hollins College) in Virginia where as a sophomore she married her writing professor, the poet R. H. W. Dillard. After nearly dying from pneumonia, Dillard began writing regular, lengthy diary entries, which would later form the basis of her Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
She won the Pulitzer Prize (non-fiction) in 1975 with her first book of prose, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, which is an extended meditation on her observations of the natural world. Some have called it a work of mysticism or theology. This combination of observations on nature and philosophical explorations is also present in several of her other books, including For the Time Being and Holy the Firm.