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Writer Joan Didion dies at 87 due to Parkinson’s disease

Joan Didion, a literary icon who captured the 1960s and 1970s American culture and wrote the screenplay for A Star Is Born in 1976, has died at the age of 87.

In books like Slouching Towards Bethlehem, published in 1968, and The White Album, published in 1979, the sharp American novelist and essayist investigated the disintegration of American life.


Her National Book Award-winning novel The Year of Magical Thinking, published in 2005, was inspired by her husband’s death.


Her publisher, Knopf, stated that she died of Parkinson’s disease.


According to a statement, “Didion was one of the country’s most trenchant authors and acute observers.” “Her best-selling novels, essays, and memoirs have won countless awards and are considered modern classics.”

In 2013, US President Barack Obama awarded Didion the National Medal of Arts, describing her as “one of the most acclaimed American writers of her generation” and “one of our sharpest and most respected commentators of American politics and culture.”

Play It as It Lays, published in 1970, was one of her novels that probed and exposed Hollywood cinema culture. Martin Amis, a fellow author, once called her a “poet of the Great Californian Emptiness.”

She also wrote a play adaptation of her memoir The Year of Magical Thinking, about her grieving husband John Gregory Dunne. In 2007, Vanessa Redgrave appeared in the Broadway premiere of the play.


Didion was also honoured with the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters that year, for her “unique blend of spare, exquisite prose and ferocious intelligence.”

After the death of her daughter Quintana Roo at the age of 39, grief became an unwanted inspiration once more. Didion used her grief to write the book Blue Nights, which was published in 2011.

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