She is the author of the novels The Secret History (1992) and The Little Friend (2002). She won the WH Smith Literary Award for The Little Friend in 2003.
She was born in Greenwood, Mississippi (1963) and raised in the nearby town of Grenada. At age five, she wrote her first poem, and she was first published in a Mississippi literary review when she was 13. Tartt began writing her first novel, originally titled "The God of Illusions" and later published as The Secret History, during her second year at Bennington. She graduated from Bennington in 1986. The Secret History was published in 1992, overwhelming the 75,000 copies in the first printing to become a bestseller. It was later translated into 24 languages. The Little Friend, Tartt's second novel, was published in October 2002. Now she is working at her third new novel. Her books are published in Italy by Rizzoli.