Joan Didion died at her New York home from Parkinson’s disease, according to a statement to the press from her publisher, Knopf. She was 87.
“Joan was a brilliant observer and listener, a wise and subtle teller of truths about our present and future,” said Knopf editor Shelley Wagner. “She was fierce and fearless in her reporting. Her writing is timeless and powerful, and her prose has influenced millions.”
A fiction author, screenplay writer, essayist, reporter, and memoirist, Didion’s prose helped shape the New Journalism movement, and writing itself, in the latter half of the 20th century after she began her career at Vogue magazine.
From columns that explored the cultural revolution of the 1960s to works of fiction that shed pretense for bitter realism, like Play It As It Lays (1970) and A Book of Common Prayer (1977), Didion won fans and acclaim for her exploration of social and personal decay. Her works captured the pain and beauty of being alive by exploring how humanity at once tries to tear itself apart and stitch itself together.