Elizabeth M. Gilbert is an American author, essayist, short story writer, biographer, novelist and memoirist. She is best known for her 2006 memoir, "Eat, Pray, Love", which as of December 2010 has spent 199 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list, and was also made into a film by the same name in 2010.
Her father was a chemical engineer, her mother a nurse.
Along with her only sister, novelist and historian Catherine Gilbert Murdock, Gilbert grew up on a small familyChristmas tree farm in Litchfield, Connecticut. The family lived in the country with no neighbors, and they didn’t own a TV or even a record player. Consequently, they all read a great deal, and Gilbert and her sister entertained themselves by writing little books and plays.
Now Elizabeth Gilbert lives in rural New Jersey with her husband, her garden, and far too many beloved pets.
Gilbert earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from New York University in 1991, after which she worked as cook, a waitress, and a magazine employee. She wrote of her experience as a cook on adude ranch in short stories, and also briefly in her book "The Last American Man" (Viking 2002).
Esquire published Gilbert's short story "Pilgrims" in 1993, under the headline, "The Debut of an American Writer". She was the first unpublished short story writer to debut in Esquire since Norman Mailer. This led to steady work as a journalist for a variety of national magazines including, SPIN, GQ, The New York Times Magazine, Allure, Real Simple, and Travel + Leisure. As stated in the memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert made a career as a highly-paid freelance writer.
Esquire published Gilbert's short story "Pilgrims" in 1993, under the headline, "The Debut of an American Writer". She was the first unpublished short story writer to debut in Esquire since Norman Mailer. This led to steady work as a journalist for a variety of national magazines, including SPIN, GQ, The New York Times Magazine, Allure, Real Simple, and Travel + Leisure. As stated in the memoir "Eat, Pray, Love", Gilbert made a career as a highly paid freelance writer.
Her 1997 GQ article, "The Muse of the Coyote Ugly Saloon", a memoir of Gilbert's time as a bartender at the very first Coyote Ugly table dancing bar located in the East Village section of New York City, was the basis for the feature film "Coyote Ugly" (2000).
Gilbert's first book "Pilgrims" (Houghton Mifflin 1997), a collection of short stories, received the Pushcart Prize and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. This was followed by her novel "Stern Men" (Houghton Mifflin 2000), selected by The New York Times as a "Notable Book." In 2002 she published "The Last American Man" (2002), a biography of Eustace Conway, a modern woodsman and naturalist, which was nominated for National Book Award.
In 2006, Gilbert published "Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia" (Viking, 2006), a chronicle of her year of "spiritual and personal exploration" spent traveling abroad. She financed her world travel for the book with a $200,000 publisher's advance.
Gilbert's fifth book, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, was released by Viking in January 2010.