Anita Shreve, ‘The Pilot’s Wife’ Author, Dies at 71

Best-selling novelist also wrote “Testimony” and “The Weight of Water”

Last Updated: March 30, 2018 @ 2:10 PM

Anita Shreve, author of books like “The Pilot’s Wife” and “Testimony,” has died. She was 71.

Publisher Alfred A. Knopf said that Shreve had been battling cancer and passed away Thursday at her home in New Hampshire.

“We are sad to report that Anita Shreve, the beloved writer and bestselling novelist, died of cancer yesterday,” the publisher said in a statement to TheWrap on Friday.

“Anita was the author of 19 novels. Her first story, ‘Past the Island, Drifting,’ was published in 1975, and her first novel, ‘Eden Close,’ was published in 1989,” the statement continued.

Her editor, Jordan Pavlin, added: “Anita’s writing has touched the lives of millions of readers around the world, and she did some of her most elegant, rich, and unforgettable work in the last years of her life. Her body of work is extraordinary, and her books will continue to be read for generations.”

Shreve announced her illness on Facebook last year, writing that a “medical emergency” would stop her from touring for her book “The Stars Are Fire.” It would be her final novel.

Millions of copies were sold of Shreve’s books, including “Resistance” and “The Weight of Water,” which were adapted into movies along with “The Pilot’s Wife.” She received several literary honors including the O.Henry Prize for “Past the Island, Drifting,” and she became a finalist for England’s Orange Prize for “The Weight of Water.” It later became a film directed by Kathryn Bigelow, starring Sean Penn, Sarah Polley and Elizabeth Hurley.

“The Pilot’s Wife” was selected by Oprah Winfrey for her book club, which catapulted the novel to fame.

Shreve’s “writing has touched the lives of millions of readers around the world, and she did some of her most elegant, rich, and unforgettable work in the last years of her life,” Knopf editor Jordan Pavlin said in a statement to the Times.

Shreve was born in Dedham, Massachusetts. After she graduated Tufts University, she started writing fiction during her time as a high school teacher in Reading. She also worked as a journalist in Nairobi, Kenya, for three years.