This Goodly Land

Nancy Huddleston Packer (May 2, 1925–present)

Other Names Used

Alabama Connections

Selected Works

Literary Awards

Biographical Information

Nancy Huddleston Packer was born in Washington, D.C. Her father, George Huddleston, was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and the family spent summers in Birmingham, Ala., and the rest of the year in Washington. In the late 1930s, when Packer was twelve, her father was defeated in a bid for re-election, and the family moved back to Birmingham to live there year-round. Packer attended Birmingham-Southern College, where she earned an AB in 1945. In 1947, she earned an MA in Theology from the University of Chicago. Packer returned to Birmingham and taught religion classes at Birmingham-Southern for a year. She worked as a staff writer for the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce for several years in the early 1950s. Packer’s first national publication was a short story in the October 1953 issue of Harper’s Magazine, entitled “Povera Baby.”

In 1958, Packer married and moved to California, where her husband was on the law faculty of Stanford University. She took creative writing classes at Stanford and was awarded a Wallace Stegner Fellowship. In the early 1960s, Packer began teaching creative writing classes herself. She joined the faculty of the English department at Stanford in 1968. She was a popular and respected teacher and co-authored several textbooks on creative writing. During this time, Packer was publishing short stories in literary magazines such as The Yale Review and Southwest Review. Between 1976 and 1997, she published three short story collections and a memoir. Packer retired from Stanford University in 1993. At that time, she had been the director of the Creative Writing Program at Stanford for four years and held the position of Melvin and Bill Lane Professor in the Humanities. Packer lives in Palo Alto, Calif. She continues to write and publish short stories, and her children, George and Ann, have also become writers.

Interests and Themes

Nancy Huddleston Packer writes short stories about family life and everyday events, many with female narrators. Jealous-Hearted Me is a collection of stories about a family living in Montgomery. Packer’s memoir, In My Father’s House, is a collection of essays about her father, a U.S. Congressman from Alabama.

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Reference Articles

Location of Papers

Photo by Linda Cicero; courtesy of Nancy Huddleston Packer and Stanford University News and Publications.

Last updated on May 30, 2008.

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