Read a few of the essays or chapter excerpts in Annie Dillard's The Abundance, and you might find yourself writing a letter to the author. Part of that letter might look like this: Please tell me what kind of writer you are, Ms Dillard – an essayist, a naturalist, an explorer, a theologian, a philosopher? Dillard defies categorisation. In books such as Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1974), An American Childhood (1987), and For the Time Being (1999), she hopscotches among seemingly disparate genres and themes. Whether she investigates science and religion, history and philosophy, art, nature, or (more on this later) that square-one question of what it feels like to be alive, the commonality throughout her work remains an endless curiosity about the world.