MacArthur Fellows Program

MacArthur Fellows / Meet the Class of 2001

Andrea Barrett


Age: 46

Published October 1, 2001

Andrea Barrett is a novelist and short story writer whose love of science and abiding interest in natural history informs her fictional portrayals of scientists, both professional and amateur. An author of great intelligence, grace, humor, and drama, Barrett is particularly adept at the creation of palpable characters and riveting natural landscapes. While Barrett’s first four novels deal with contemporary settings, her recent work incorporates material from the history of science and social history of the late-seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, interweaving the interior domain of character development with the exterior world of scientific exploration. Her meticulous research is evidenced in her vivid evocations of historical periods, yet her inventive writing is, at the same time, absolutely contemporary.

Andrea Barrett received a B.S. (1976) in biology from Union College. She is a lecturer in the department of English at Williams College. Her published works include the novels Lucid Stars (1988), Secret Harmonies (1989), The Middle Kingdom (1991), The Forms of Water (1993), and The Voyage of the Narwhal (1998), as well as two collections of short stories, Ship Fever (1996) and Servants of the Map (2002). Her writing has also been anthologized and published in such periodicals as Salmagundi, Prairie Schooner, and The Southern Review.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

About the Fellows Program

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. Learn More

Pamela O. Long, Historian of Science and Technology

Class of 2014

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