Ann Beattie to Leave UVa

January 07, 2013

Ann Beattie, the author of Chilly Scenes of Winter, Falling in Place, Mrs. Nixon, and numerous other novels and short-story collections, has resigned from her position as a tenured professor of English and creative writing at the University of Virginia.

She said in a phone interview that she disagreed with some university officials "about the direction of the university" and that she was disappointed, in particular, that the dean of arts and sciences turned down her request for a sabbatical in 2010. Although her contract doesn't provide for such a sabbatical, she says, she wished the university had been more flexible. "It began to seem like I was being punished for my success," she said.

Ms. Beattie has had a permanent position on the faculty since 2000. She says her contract calls for her to teach one semester a year, and she usually taught a literature course and a creative-writing course in the spring, though she taught in the fall this academic year. She says her husband, Lincoln Perry, is also leaving the university, where he has been a distinguished visiting artist. They plan to sell their house in Charlottesville and live in Maine.

The announcement of Ms. Beattie's departure comes a little more than a year after another well-known short-story writer, Deborah Eisenberg, a 2009 MacArthur "genius grant" fellow, left Virginia's writing program to join its counterpart at Columbia University.

A spokesman for the University of Virginia says it does not discuss personnel matters.