From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
Laura Hillenbrand (born May 15, 1967) is an American author of books and magazine articles.
Born in Fairfax, Virginia, Hillenbrand spent much of her childhood riding bareback "screaming over the hills" of her father's Sharpsburg, Maryland, farm. A favorite of hers was Come On Seabiscuit, a 1963 kiddie book. "I read it to death, my little paperback copy," she says. She studied at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, but was forced to leave before graduation when she contracted Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, with which she has struggled ever since. She now lives in Washington, D.C, and rarely leaves her house because of the condition. Hillenbrand married Borden Flanagan, a professor of Government at American University and her college sweetheart, in 2008. She described the onset and early years of her illness in an award-winning essay, A Sudden Illness. 
Hillenbrand's first book was the acclaimed Seabiscuit: An American Legend (2001), a non-fiction account of the career of the great racehorse Seabiscuit, for which she won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year in 2001. She says she was compelled to tell the story because she "found fascinating people living a story that was improbable, breathtaking and ultimately more satisfying than any story [she'd] ever come across." She first told the story through an essay, "Four Good Legs Between Us," that she sold to American Heritage magazine, and the feedback was positive, so she decided to proceed with a full non-fiction book. Upon the book's release, she received rave reviews for her storytelling and research. It was made into the Academy Award nominated film Seabiscuit (2003).
Hillenbrand's second book was Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (2010), a biography of World War II hero Louis Zamperini.
Her essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Equus magazine, American Heritage, The Blood-Horse, Thoroughbred Times, The Backstretch, Turf and Sport Digest, and many other publications. Her 1998 American Heritage article on the horse Seabiscuit won the Eclipse Award for Magazine Writing.
Hillenbrand is a co-founder of Operation International Children.
Hillenbrand suffers from severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and remains largely confined to her home. On the irony of writing about physical paragons while being so incapacitated herself, she says, "I'm looking for a way out of here. I can't have it physically, so I'm going to have it intellectually. It was a beautiful thing to ride Seabiscuit in my imagination. And it's just fantastic to be there alongside Louie as he's breaking the NCAA mile record. People at these vigorous moments in their lives - it's my way of living vicariously."
|William Hill Sports Book of the Year winner|