• Where—Fairfax, Virginia, USA
• Education—B.A., Kenyon College
• Awards—William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award;
National Book Critics Circle Award Nomination, 2002
• Currently—lives in Washington, D.C.
Laura Hillenbrand is an American author of books and magazine articles. Born in Fairfax, Virginia, Hillenbrand spent much of her childhood riding bareback "screaming over the hills" of her father's Sharpsburg, Maryland, farm. A favorite of hers was Come On Seabiscuit, a 1963 kiddie book. "I read it to death, my little paperback copy," she says.
She studied at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, but was forced to leave before graduation when she contracted Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She has struggled with the condition ever since, remaining largely confined to her home. On the irony of writing about physical paragons while being so incapaciated herself, she says, "I'm looking for a way out of here. I can't have it physically, so I'm going to have it intellectually. It was a beautiful thing to ride Seabiscuit in my imagination. And it's just fantastic to be there alongside Louie Zamperini [hero of Unbroken] as he's breaking the NCAA mile record. People at these vigorous moments in their lives—it's my way of living vicariously.
She now lives in Washington, D.C, with her husband, Borden Flanagan, a professor of Government at American University. They were college sweethearts and married in 2008.
Hillenbrand's first book was the acclaimed Seabiscuit: An American Legend (2001), a non-fiction account of the career of the great racehorse Seabiscuit, for which she won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year in 2001. She says she was compelled to tell the story because she "found fascinating people living a story that was improbable, breathtaking and ultimately more satisfying than any story [she'd] ever come across."She first told the story through an essay she sold to American Heritage magazine, and the feedback was positive, so she decided to procede with a full novel. Upon the book's release, she recieved rave reviews for her storytelling and research. It was made into the Academy Award nominated film Seabiscuit (2003).
Hillenbrand's second book is Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (2010), a biography of World War II hero Louis Zamperini (1917-).
Her essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Equus magazine, American Heritage, Blood-Horse, Thoroughbred Times, Backstretch, Turf and Sport Digest, and many other publications. Her 1998 American Heritage article on the horse Seabiscuit won the Eclipse Award for Magazine Writing.
Hillenbrand is a co-founder of Operation Iraqi Children. (From Wikipedia.)
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