Elizabeth Gilbert

Get to know Elizabeth Gilbert

Who is Elizabeth Gilbert?

Born in 1969, Elizabeth Gilbert is an American author, best known for her memoir, 'Eat, Pray, Love' which came out in 2006. The book was a best seller in the United States and sold well in many other parts of the English-speaking world, too. In 2010, 'Eat, Pray, Love' gained a much wider audience when it was adapted into a screenplay and produced as a movie starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem. The story focusses on Gilbert's spiritual crossroads. She has everything – seemingly – that she could want but knows there is more to life. Recently divorced, she travels to Italy, India and then Indonesia. In Italy, she learns to appreciate food culture, followed by a spiritual awakening in India and then she falls in love on the third leg of her journey – hence the memoir's title.

 What did Elizabeth Gilbert do before becoming an author?

Elizabeth Gilbert was born and raised in Waterbury, close to the Naugatuck River, in Connecticut. She and her sister – also a writer – did not have access to TV as children which meant they read and wrote a great deal. She attended New York University as a young woman, obtaining a degree in political science. She then went on to have a career as a journalist writing for such publications as Esquire magazine, GQ and the New York Times Magazine. She supplemented her income as a freelance writer working as a bartender, notably in Coyote Ugly in New York City. Her articles about that work were later adapted into a feature film of 2000.

What does Elizabeth Gilbert have to say about spirituality?

When Elizabeth Gilbert wrote 'Eat, Pray Love' she subtitled her memoir as 'One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia' giving an indication that she was asking some fundamental questions of herself. The memoir was the story of her spiritual and personal exploration in which she travelled the world to find out more about herself. As such, her take on spirituality seems to be one that is about self-discovery more than anything else. Gilbert has gone on the record to say that her attitude to philosophy is in keeping with the work of Marcus Aurelius, a Roman emperor noted for his stoicism.

Which literary influences does Elizabeth Gilbert cite?

Other than the aforementioned Marcus Aurelius, Elizabeth Gilbert has said that her influences as a writer were mainly drawn from her childhood reading. She has cited the work of L. Frank Baum – most famous for 'The Wizard of Oz' – for example. Gilbert has also mentioned Charles Dickens in numerous interviews as a big influence on her style.

Which books by Elizabeth Gilbert are good ones to read?

Elizabeth Gilbert produced a biography in 2010. Entitled 'The Last American Man', it is the best one to gain an insight into her life. Other than 'Eat, Pray, Love', she has written two further memoirs, 'Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage' and 'Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear'. In 2019, she published 'City of Girls', a novel.

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