Takoma Park, Maryland, U.S.
|Notable works||The Last Samurai|
Helen DeWitt (born 1957 in Takoma Park, Maryland) is an American novelist. She is the author of the novels The Last Samurai (2000) and Lightning Rods (2012) and the short story collection Some Trick (2018), and in collaboration with the Australian journalist Ilya Gridneff has written Your Name Here (published in 2008). She lives in Berlin.
DeWitt grew up primarily in Latin America (Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador), as her parents worked in the United States diplomatic service. After a year at Northfield Mount Hermon School and two short periods at Smith College, DeWitt studied classics at the University of Oxford, first at Lady Margaret Hall, and then at Brasenose College for her D.Phil. Afterwards she became a Junior Research Fellow at Somerville College.
DeWitt is best known for her debut novel, The Last Samurai. She held a variety of jobs while struggling to finish a book, including dictionary text tagger, copytaker, Dunkin' Donuts employee, legal secretary, and working at a laundry service. During this time she reportedly attempted to finish many novels, before finally completing The Last Samurai, her 50th manuscript, in 1998. In 2005 she collaborated with Ingrid Kerma, the London-based painter, writing "limit5" for the exhibition "Blushing Brides".