Quoting an essay, you would write, when she lived in Virginia's mountains.
In the book's chapter, "Seeing," Annie Dillard contends that "vision...
"Contends," however, appears in a statement about Dillard's writing, so it is in the present tense.
The above examples are a plot summary and a direct quotation, both of which use the literary present.
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is a deliberate gift, the revelation of a dancer who for my eyes only flings away her seven veils" (17).
Here, both "wrote" and "lived" are in the past tense since they refer to Dillard's life, not her writings.
In academic writing, this could be writing up a completed experiment.
For example, the past tense can be used in methodology and results sections.