Following a Non-Fiction, Living Writer: Joan Didion

I originally came across the work of Joan Didion when I picked up her collection of essays, The White Album, in Literati. Didion is a unique writer in this sense because much of her literary journalism works were produced several decades ago. The White Album is specifically an autobiographical collection of her work that discusses American life and culture during the 1960’s. Didion is still alive and writing, though more scarcely, and I thought that it would be interesting to pursue reverse-engineering of her work.

Didion’s writing has been autobiographical for her entire life- beginning in the 1960’s and still ringing true in her recently published works that discuss the death of her daughter. She has left a legacy as a powerful writer regarding place and how it can shape identity. Her works were first published in magazines including Life, Time, Esquire, and Travel + Leisure. As her network and style progressed from articles to essays to novels (where she has landed currently), much of her focus as a writer remained consisted, focused on personal growth and reflection of our surrounding environments. As her network grew, her follower base did as well- I am curious as to how her target audience was cultivated or changed over time. How was this base impacted by her stylistic changes and maturation as a writer?

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