Sanford, Annette 1929-

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SANFORD, Annette 1929-

(Mary Carroll, Meg Dominique, Anne Shore, Lisa St. John, Anne Starr)


Born August 3, 1929, in Cuero, TX; daughter of Louis (a banker) and Anna (a teacher; maiden name, Barthlome) Schorre; married Lucius Sanford (a mail carrier), March 17, 1953. Education: University of Texas—Austin, B.A., 1950. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Presbyterian.


Home—Ganado, TX. Agent—Donald MacCampbell, Inc., 12 East 41st St., New York, NY 10017.


Ganado High School, Ganado, TX, English teacher, 1950-76; writer, 1968—.


Texas Institute of Letters.


Catholic Press awards, 1968, for "A Child's Game," and 1972, for "The Dogs from the Dark of the Drawer"; Writer's Digest awards, 1973, for "One of the Family," and 1975, for "I, JoAnna"; National Endowment for the Arts fellow, 1975 and 1987; Writers Recognition Award, Texas Commission on the Arts, 1981, for "Harvest"; author's work included in Best American Short Stories ' list of Distinguished Stories, 1988 and 1989.


Lasting Attachments (short stories), Southern Methodist University Press, (Dallas, TX), 1989.

Crossing Shattuck Bridge: Stories, Southern Methodist University Press (Dallas, TX), 1999.

Eleanor and Abel: A Romance, Counterpoint (New York, NY), 2003.

Work represented in anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, 1979, Her Work, 1982, New Stories from the South, 1988 and 1989, and Common Bonds, 1990. Contributor of stories to periodicals, including Coed, Redbook, McCall's, Accent on Youth, Lutheran Women, Yankee, North American Review, Ohio Review, Story Quarterly, and Prairie Schooner.


Shadow and Sun, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1980.

Too Swift the Morning, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1980.

Divide the Wind, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1981.

Take This Love, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1981.

Where Tomorrow Waits, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1983.

Two Faces of Love, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1983.

Midnight Sun, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1983.


When Stars Fall Down, Harlequin (New York, NY), 1984.

Rebel Heart, Harlequin (New York, NY), 1984.

Yes, with Love, Harlequin (New York, NY), 1985.

As Love Would Have It, Harlequin (New York, NY), 1985.

Sandcastles, Harlequin (New York, NY), 1986.


Gossamer Magic, New American Library (New York, NY), 1983.

Starfire, New American Library (New York, NY), 1984.


The Heart's Horizons, Dell (New York, NY), 1978.

Whispers of the Heart, Dell (New York, NY), 1978.

Winter Kisses, Summer Love, Dell (New York, NY), 1978.

Promise by Moonlight, Dell (New York, NY), 1979.

The Searching Heart, Dell (New York, NY), 1980.

Tender Is the Touch, Dell (New York, NY), 1980.

The Valley of the Butterflies, Dell (New York, NY), 1981.

The Faraway Land, Dell (New York, NY), 1982.


Hold Back Tomorrow, Signet Books (New York, NY), 1981.

Come Kiss a Stranger, Signet Books (New York, NY), 1982.

A Time for Loving, Signet Books (New York, NY), 1982.


The short story "Six White Horses" was read by actress Hallie Foote at Houston's Alley Theatre in 1994; other stories have been read as part of the Texas Bound theater program.


Former English teacher Annette Sanford published her first collection of short stories at age sixty. Lasting Attachments was not the first book she had published, but it represented the kind of writing Sanford valued most. As she once told CA: "I taught and wrote for twenty-five years. In 1976 I began writing full-time. Using the writing of contemporary romances as financial support, plus two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, I pursued seriously the writing of short stories. With the publication of Lasting Attachments, I began concentrating solely on the short story, dealing chiefly with simple, rural lives in Texas. Though I have written [many]… short novels, I am chiefly attracted to the short story form. Artistically, it pleases me in its economy and its shape. I appreciate the fact that everything—every word, every piece of dialogue, every noted object—is vital to the whole. Rhythm is very important to me, and I find I can sustain it in a story of not much length. I like that challenge and the thrill of having it come out that way."

A second collection of short stories, Crossing Shattuck Bridge, and Sanford's first novel, Eleanor and Abel: A Romance, are written in the same vein as Lasting Attachments. In all three books, Sanford looks closely at the pains and joys that punctuate seemingly unremarkable lives. Her characters are often past middle age, eccentric, old-fashioned, and cautious. According to writer Michael Berryhill in the Houston Chronicle, many are trying to discover "how careful can you be and still enjoy the sweet juices of life? What matters most?" The title figure of "Goose Girl," for example, is a mentally handicapped woman who claims the right to make her own decisions after the death of her parents. In "Limited Access" the ancient Miss Ettie has known little but hard work and deprivation. But when friends give her a television, she cannot bear to turn it off, fearing that she would be wasting unwatched programs. And in the story "Crossing Shattuck Bridge," two elderly women are terrified when they must cross a dangerous bridge in the fog, but the experience leads one to unburden herself of a secret from their childhood.

Crossing Shattuck Bridge attracted the attention of many reviewers, and was praised for its dialogue, humor, and restraint. In Publishers Weekly, Sybil Steinberg called it an "accomplished collection" in which the author "permits the reader glimpses of darker themes—death, lost love, unrequited passion, the loss of memory—but rarely addresses them directly." Allan Hanrahan commented in the Virginian-Pilot that Sanford "masters the transitions between action and imaginative dialogue, with just a few exceptions. Her stories are interesting, entertaining, and thought-provoking." And Tulsa World critic Terry Collins called Sanford "the rare short story writer who understands the limits of her craft.…The stories are deceptively simple, relying on the acumen to unearth the story from her oblique trails rather than overstate the obvious. It is fine craftsmanship."

The short story "Housekeeping" would inspire Sanford to write her novel Eleanor and Abel. The title characters are a spinster nearing seventy and a slightly older handyman who offers to fix up her empty cottage in lieu of rent. Eleanor has never kissed a man before Abel, and she fears a bleak future. The two fall in love and find that it is sometimes difficult to reconcile longstanding habits and preoccupations. But while Eleanor cannot bear to hear herself called "honey bun," she clearly feels the joy that Abel sparks within her. A Kirkus Reviews writer considered the novel to be "Pleasant enough but curiously dull." But Sharan McBride remarked in the Houston Chronicle that "when I was finished I was sorry because the crotchety, independent pair had become friends as real to me as all those small-town inhabitants I once knew."



Austin American Statesman, April 29, 1990, Mike Cox, "Austinite Receives Texas Fiction Award," p. E7; December 12, 1999, Anita Brewer Howard, "Lessons in Loneliness, Sanford Imbues Her East Texas Characters with All the Passion and Pain of Real Life," p. K10.

Booklist, April 15, 2003, Deborah Donovan, review of Eleanor and Abel, p. 1451.

Houston Chronicle, July 2, 1989, Sharan Gibson, "The Concerns of Ordinary Folk: Fine Stories by Annette Sanford," p. 26; January 28, 1990, Michael Berryhill, "A Book That Counts," p. 6; July 10, 1994, Patricia Howard, "Then and Now," p. 10; February 20, 2000, Michael Berryhill, "The Poet of Ganado: Annette Sanford Gathers More Stories from the Coastal Bend," p. 17; August 10, 2003, Sharan McBride, review of Eleanor and Abel, p. 17.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2003, review of Eleanor and Abel, p. 503.

Publishers Weekly October 18, 1999, Sybil Steinberg, review of Crossing Shattuck Bridge.

School Library Journal, August, 1989, Carolyn Praytor Boyd, review of Lasting Attachments, p. 163.

Tulsa World, March 12, 2000, Terry Collins, review of Crossing Shattuck Bridge, p. 4.

USA Today, May 22, 2003, Bob Minzesheimer, "Six Debut Novelists Look to Turn Heads; These Contenders Could Have the Elusive Surprise Best Seller," p. D6.

Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA), March 26, 2000, Allan Hanrahan, review of Crossing Shattuck Bridge, p. E3.


Austin Chronicle, (November 5, 1999), Clay Smith, "Annette Sanford"; (February 4, 2000), Clay Smith, review of Crossing Shattuck Bridge.*

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