American author who wrote On Photography, Against Interpretation, The Way We Live Now, and Illness as Metaphor, among other works. Her numerous literary honors include the National Book Critics Circle Award, the MacArthur Fellowship, and the National Book Award.
She grew up in New York City and later studied at both the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Chicago. She published her first work of fiction, The Benefactor, in 1963.
The New York Review of Books called her one of the most influential critics of her generation.
She was bisexual and had significant relationships with both men and women, notably Philip Rieff (whom she married at age seventeen after a ten-day-long dating period) and photographer
During her time at the University of Chicago, she became friends with future director Mike Nichols.