James A. Herne, original name James Ahern, (born February 1, 1839, Troy, New York, U.S.--died June 2, 1901, New York City), American playwright who helped bridge the gap between 19th-century melodrama and the 20th-century drama of ideas.After several years as a traveling actor, Herne scored an impressive success with his first play, Hearts of Oak (1879), written with the young David Belasco. Subsequent dramas, Drifting Apart (1885), The Minute Men (1886), and Margaret Fleming (1890), did not achieve the same popularity. Margaret Fleming, a drama of marital infidelity, has been judged his..
Joseph Hergesheimer, (born Feb. 15, 1880, Philadelphia--died April 25, 1954, Sea Isle City, N.J., U.S.), American author whose novels are typically concerned with the decadent and sophisticated milieu of the very wealthy.After giving up the study of painting, Hergesheimer turned to writing. Beginning with The Lay Anthony (1914), he established himself as a popular and prolific writer of novels, short stories, biography, history, and criticism. His work is distinguished for the Baroque lushness of its descriptive passages and its often penetrating psychological insights. Of his novels,..
Joseph Kirkland, (born Jan. 7, 1830, Geneva, N.Y., U.S.--died April 29, 1894, Chicago, Ill.), American novelist whose only work, a trilogy of Midwestern pioneer life, contributed to the development of realistic fiction.Kirkland, who readily acknowledged his indebtedness to the English realist Thomas Hardy, was also affected by his own personal experiences as a publisher's clerk, railroad auditor, soldier, coal-mine operator, and lawyer. He was also influenced by his mother, Caroline Kirkland, whose realistic accounts of the family's life in backwoods Michigan were published in the..
Howard Melvin Fast, American writer (born Nov. 11, 1914, New York, N.Y.--died March 12, 2003, Old Greenwich, Conn.), wrote prolifically, most notably popular historical novels on themes of human rights and social justice. Fast, who was well known for his leftist political beliefs, was the author of more than 80 books in addition to poetry, screenplays, and newspaper articles. He was 19 when his first book was published, and his last work was published in 2000. He was imprisoned for three months in 1950 for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee, after which he..
Jacob Abbott, (born Nov. 14, 1803, Hallowell, Maine, U.S.--died Oct. 31, 1879, Farmington, Maine), American teacher and writer, best known for his many books for young readers.Abbott attended Hallowell Academy and Bowdoin College and studied at Andover Newton Theological School. After teaching at Amherst College, he moved in 1829 to Boston, where he founded and was the first principal of the Mount Vernon School, a secondary school for girls.Abbott was sole author of 180 books and coauthor or editor of 31 others, notably the "Rollo" series (28 vol.). To accompany the earlier books (Rollo at..
John Dickson Carr, pseudonym Carr Dickson, orCarter Dickson, (born Nov. 30, 1906, Uniontown, Pa., U.S.--died Feb. 27, 1977, Greenville, S.C.), U.S. writer of detective fiction whose work, both intellectual and macabre, is considered among the best in the genre.Carr's first novel, It Walks by Night (1930), won favour that endured as Carr continued to create well-researched "locked-room" puzzles of historical England. Though he wrote more than 70 books--as many as six a year--his work remained realistic and exciting. One of his later works is The Hungry Goblin (1972).Carr's other successful..
Albert Payson Terhune, (born Dec. 21, 1872, Newark, N.J., U.S.--died Feb. 18, 1942, near Pompton Lakes, N.J.), American novelist and short-story writer who became famous for his popular stories about dogs.After schooling in Europe, Terhune graduated from Columbia University in 1893, traveled in Egypt and Syria, and joined the staff of the New York Evening World in 1894. His first book was Syria from the Saddle (1896); his first novel, Dr. Dale (1900), was written in collaboration with his mother, herself a novelist. He published more than 12 books before he left the Evening World in 1916.In..
Julia Caroline Ripley Dorr, nee Julie Caroline Ripley, (born Feb. 13, 1825, Charleston, S.C., U.S.--died Jan. 18, 1913, Rutland, Vt.), American novelist and poet, notable for her novels that portrayed young women lifting themselves from poverty through education and persistence.Julia Ripley married Seneca M. Dorr in 1847. She had enjoyed writing verse since childhood, but none had ever been published until her husband, without her knowledge, sent one of her poems to Union Magazine. In 1848 Sartain's Magazine published one of her short stories as winner of a contest prize. She published..
Mari Sandoz, in full Mari Susette Sandoz, (born May 11, 1896, Sandoz post office, Sheridan county, Nebraska, U.S.--died March 10, 1966, New York, New York), American biographer and novelist known for her scrupulously researched books portraying the early American West.Sandoz's life as a student and teacher in rural Nebraska--a rigorous life that left her blind in one eye from a blizzard at age 13--prepared her to depict realistically pioneer and Indian life. She wrote almost 80 stories while in college, but her first success came when she was in her late 30s, with Old Jules (1935), a story of..
L.H. Sigourney, in full Lydia Howard Sigourney, nee Lydia Howard Huntley, (born Sept. 1, 1791, Norwich, Conn., U.S.--died June 10, 1865, Hartford, Conn.), popular writer, known as "the sweet singer of Hartford," who was one of the first American women to succeed at a literary career.Lydia Huntley worked as a schoolteacher and published her first work, Moral Pieces in Prose and Verse, in 1815. After her marriage in 1819 to Charles Sigourney (d. 1854), a merchant, she devoted her life to writing. She wrote some 67 books and more than a thousand articles during her career; many were widely read in..
F. Marion Crawford, in full Francis Marion Crawford, (born August 2, 1854, Bagni de Lucca, Grand Duchy of Tuscany [Italy]--died April 9, 1909, Sorrento, Italy), American novelist noted for the vividness of his characterizations and settings.In his youth Crawford was shuttled between Italy and America; though he later chose to live in Italy, he remained a U.S. citizen and visited the country frequently. He became acquainted with various European settings while attending several universities there. A stay in India provided the inspiration for Mr. Isaacs (1882). This story, the tale of a diamond..
Ellery Queen, pseudonym of Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee, original names, respectively, Daniel Nathan and Manford Lepofsky, (respectively, born October 20, 1905, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.--died September 3, 1982, White Plains, New York; born January 11, 1905, Brooklyn, New York--died April 3, 1971, near Waterbury, Connecticut), American cousins who were coauthors of a series of more than 35 detective novels featuring a character named Ellery Queen.Dannay and Lee first collaborated on an impulsive entry for a detective-story contest; the success of the result, The Roman Hat Mystery..
William Taylor Adams, pseudonym Oliver Optic, (born July 30, 1822, Medway, Mass., U.S.--died March 27, 1897, Boston, Mass.), American teacher and author of juvenile literature, best known for his children's magazine and the series of adventure books that he wrote under his pseudonym.Although he never graduated from college, Adams was a teacher and principal in Boston elementary schools for more than 20 years. Under the pen name Oliver Optic, he wrote stories for boys, and in 1865 he resigned his position as a principal to pursue his writing full-time. Soon after that he began Oliver Optic's..
Samuel Hopkins Adams, (born January 26, 1871, Dunkirk, New York, U.S.--died November 15, 1958, Beaufort, South Carolina), American journalist and author of more than 50 books of fiction, biography, and expose.Adams graduated from Hamilton College in 1891 and was with the New York Sun until 1900. From 1901 to 1905 he was associated in various editorial and advertising capacities with McClure's syndicate and McClure's Magazine.One of the so-called muckrakers of the period, Adams contributed to Collier's, the National Weekly in 1905 a series of articles exposing quack patent medicines,..
Alice Brown, (born Dec. 5, 1856, Hampton Falls, N.H., U.S.--died June 21, 1948, Boston, Mass.), American novelist, short-story writer, and biographer who gained some note as a writer of local colour.Brown graduated from Robinson Seminary in nearby Exeter in 1876. She then taught school for several years while contributing short stories to various magazines. Her success as a writer allowed her to give up teaching and move to Boston in 1884. She joined the staff of the Christian Register and in 1885 that of the Youth's Companion, with which she was associated for some years. Her first novel, Stratford-by-the-Sea,..
George W. Cable, in full George Washington Cable, (born Oct. 12, 1844, New Orleans, La., U.S.--died Jan. 31, 1925, St. Petersburg, Fla.), American author and reformer, noted for fiction dealing with life in New Orleans.Cable's first books--Old Creole Days (1879), a collection of stories, and The Grandissimes (1880), a novel--marked Creole New Orleans as his literary province and were widely praised. In these works he sought to recapture the picturesque life of the old French-Spanish city. Yet he employed a realism new to Southern fiction.Although Cable was the son of slaveholders and fought..
Louis Bromfield, (born Dec. 27, 1896, Mansfield, Ohio, U.S.--died March 18, 1956, Columbus, Ohio), American novelist and essayist.The son of a farmer, Bromfield studied journalism at Columbia University and was decorated for his service in the French army, which he joined at the outbreak of World War I. After the war he worked as a music critic in New York City for a few years. After marrying in 1923, he moved to a village north of Paris, where he concentrated on his writing.During these expatriate years, Bromfield produced his most highly acclaimed novels, including The Green Bay Tree (1924),..
Paul Green, in full Paul Eliot Green, (born March 17, 1894, Lillington, N.C., U.S.--died May 4, 1981, Chapel Hill, N.C.), American novelist and playwright whose characteristic works deal with North Carolina folklore and regional themes; he was one of the first white playwrights to write perceptively about the problems of Southern blacks.Green studied playwriting under Frederick Henry Koch at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and began writing plays for the Carolina Playmakers in 1919. His best known play, In Abraham's Bosom, concerned a man's attempt to establish a school..
Theodore L. De Vinne, in full Theodore Low De Vinne, (born December 25, 1828, Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.--died February 16, 1914, New York, New York), American author of many scholarly books on the history of typography.De Vinne entered the employ of Francis Hart, one of the leading printers in New York City, in 1849 and became a member of the firm in 1859. About 1864 he began to write on printing, at first on the economic aspects of the business but later on the aspects of typographic style and the history of the craft.In 1873 the firm began to print St. Nicholas and soon after took on the Century, the..
Robert A. Heinlein, in full Robert Anson Heinlein, (born July 7, 1907, Butler, Missouri, U.S.--died May 8, 1988, Carmel, California), prolific American writer considered to be one of the most literary and sophisticated of science-fiction writers. He did much to develop the genre.After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1929 and serving in the navy for five years, Heinlein pursued graduate studies in physics and mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Except for engineering service with the navy during World War II, he was an established professional writer from..
Elizabeth Fries Lummis Ellet, nee Elizabeth Fries Lummis, (born Oct. 1812/18, Sodus Point, N.Y., U.S.--died June 3, 1877, New York, N.Y.), American historical writer, best remembered for her several extensive volumes of portraits of American women of the Revolutionary War and of Western pioneer days.Elizabeth Lummis began writing verse as a child. She was educated at the Female Seminary in Aurora, New York. In 1834 her translation of Silvio Pellico's Euphemio of Messina was published anonymously, and the next year she published Poems, Translated and Original. Probably in 1835 she married..
Jessie Redmon Fauset, married name Jessie Redmon Harris, (born April 27, 1882, Snow Hill, N.J., U.S.--died April 30, 1961, Philadelphia, Pa.), African American novelist, critic, poet, and editor known for her discovery and encouragement of several writers of the Harlem Renaissance.Fauset graduated from Cornell University (B.A., 1905), and she later earned a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania (1919). For several years she taught French in an all-black secondary school in Washington, D.C. While there she published articles in The Crisis magazine, the journal of the National..
Octavia E. Butler, in full Octavia Estelle Butler, (born June 22, 1947, Pasadena, California, U.S.--died February 24, 2006, Seattle, Washington), African American author chiefly noted for her science fiction novels about future societies and superhuman powers. They are noteworthy for their unique synthesis of science fiction, mysticism, mythology, and African American spiritualism.Butler was educated at Pasadena City College (A.A., 1968), California State University, and the University of California at Los Angeles. Encouraged by Harlan Ellison, she began her writing career in..
James Gould Cozzens, (born Aug. 19, 1903, Chicago--died Aug. 9, 1978, Stuart, Fla., U.S.), American novelist, whose writings dealt with life in middle-class America.Cozzens grew up on Staten Island, N.Y., graduated from the Kent (Conn.) School (1922), and attended Harvard University for two years. In a year of teaching in Cuba he accumulated background material for the short novels Cockpit (1928) and The Son of Perdition (1929). He gained critical attention in 1931, when his novella S.S. San Pedro won the Scribner's prize. Thereafter he published increasingly complex novels, most of which..
Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman, nee Mary Eleanor Wilkins, (born Oct. 31, 1852, Randolph, Mass., U.S.--died March 13, 1930, Metuchen, N.J.), American writer known for her stories and novels of frustrated lives in New England villages.Mary Wilkins moved with her family to Brattleboro, Vermont, in 1867. She lived at home after studying for a year in 1870-71 at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (now Mount Holyoke College), read widely on her own, and began writing children's stories and verse. In 1883, by which time both her parents had died, she returned to her birthplace of Randolph, Massachusetts,..
Lydia Maria Child, nee Lydia Maria Francis, (born February 11, 1802, Medford, Massachusetts, U.S.--died October 20, 1880, Wayland, Massachusetts), American author of antislavery works that had great influence in her time.Born into an abolitionist family, Lydia Francis was primarily influenced in her education by her brother, a Unitarian clergyman and later a professor at the Harvard Divinity School. In the 1820s she taught, wrote historical novels, and founded a periodical for children, Juvenile Miscellany (1826). In 1828 she married David L. Child, an editor. After meeting the abolitionist..
Charles Brockden Brown, (born Jan. 17, 1771, Philadelphia--died Feb. 22, 1810, Philadelphia), writer known as the "father of the American novel." His gothic romances in American settings were the first in a tradition adapted by two of the greatest early American authors, Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Brown called himself a "story-telling moralist." Although his writings exploit horror and terror, they reflect a thoughtful liberalism.The son of Quaker parents, Brown was of delicate constitution, and he early devoted himself to study. He was apprenticed to a Philadelphia lawyer..
William L. Shirer, in full William Lawrence Shirer, (born Feb. 23, 1904, Chicago, Ill., U.S.--died Dec. 28, 1993, Boston, Mass.), American journalist, historian, and novelist, best known for his massive study The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany (1960).In the 1920s and '30s Shirer was stationed in Europe and in India as a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and the Universal News Service. In addition, he served from 1937 to 1941 as radio broadcaster for the Columbia Broadcasting System, relaying to America news of the European crises leading to World War II...
James Purdy, (born July 17, 1923, Ohio, U.S.--died March 13, 2009, Englewood, N.J.), American novelist and short-story writer whose works explored the American way of life and presented a vision of human alienation, indifference, and cruelty.Purdy, who grew up in small Ohio towns, was educated at the Universities of Chicago and Puebla (Mexico). He served as an interpreter and taught for a few years before turning to writing full-time. His first two works--Don't Call Me by My Right Name and Other Stories and 63: Dream Palace, a novella (both 1956)--were rejected by a number of American publishing..
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward, original name Mary Gray Phelps, also called (1852-88) Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, (born August 31, 1844, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.--died January 28, 1911, Newton, Massachusetts), popular 19th-century American author and feminist.Mary Gray Phelps was the daughter of a clergyman and of a popular woman writer. After the death of her mother in 1852, Phelps incorporated her mother's name, Stuart, into her own. For several years she kept house for her father, and she devoted what free time she could find to writing. Her first published work had appeared in the Youth's..
E. Lynn Harris, in full Everette Lynn Harris, (born June 20, 1955, Flint, Mich., U.S.--died July 23, 2009, Los Angeles, Calif.), American author, who in a series of novels drew on his personal familiarity with the gay community to chronicle the struggles faced by African American men with sexual identity concerns. He used his own unhappy childhood and his experiences as a gay man who was closeted for a time as impetus for his books. His works appealed to a wide audience: of his 11 published novels, 10 were on the New York Times best-seller list.Harris grew up in Little Rock, Ark. He studied journalism..
Richard Henry Dana, (born Aug. 1, 1815, Cambridge, Mass., U.S.--died Jan. 6, 1882, Rome, Italy), American lawyer and author of the popular autobiographical narrative Two Years Before the Mast.Dana withdrew from Harvard College when measles weakened his eyesight, and he shipped to California as a sailor in August 1834 to regain his health. After voyaging among California's ports and gathering hides ashore, he rounded Cape Horn, returned home in 1836, and reentered Harvard. His travel experiences cured him physically and evoked his sympathy for the oppressed.In 1840, the year of his admission..
N. Scott Momaday, in full Navarre Scott Momaday, (born February 27, 1934, Lawton, Oklahoma, U.S.), Native American author of many works centred on his Kiowa heritage.Momaday grew up on an Oklahoma farm and on Southwestern reservations where his parents were teachers. He attended the University of New Mexico (A.B., 1958) and Stanford University (M.A., 1960; Ph.D., 1963), where he was influenced by the poet and critic Yvor Winters. His first novel, House Made of Dawn (1968), is his best-known work. It narrates, from several different points of view, the dilemma of a young man returning home to..
William Saroyan, (born Aug. 31, 1908, Fresno, Calif., U.S.--died May 18, 1981, Fresno), U.S. writer who made his initial impact during the Depression with a deluge of brash, original, and irreverent stories celebrating the joy of living in spite of poverty, hunger, and insecurity.The son of an Armenian immigrant, Saroyan left school at 15 and educated himself by reading and writing. His first collection of stories, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze (1934), was soon followed by another collection, Inhale and Exhale (1936). His first play, My Heart's in the Highlands, was brilliantly..
James T. Farrell, in full James Thomas Farrell, (born February 27, 1904, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.--died August 22, 1979, New York, New York), American novelist and short-story writer known for his realistic portraits of the lower-middle-class Irish in Chicago, drawn from his own experiences.Farrell belonged to a working-class Irish American family. His impoverished parents gave Farrell over to be raised by middle-class relatives. Financing himself by working at various jobs, including gas-station attendant, Farrell attended the University of Chicago from 1925 to 1929. He began to..
Isabella Macdonald Alden, nee Isabella Macdonald, pseudonym Pansy, (born Nov. 3, 1841, Rochester, N.Y., U.S.--died Aug. 5, 1930, Palo Alto, Calif.), American children's author whose books achieved great popularity for the wholesome interest and variety of their situations and characters and the clearly moral but not sombre lessons of their plots.Isabella Macdonald was educated at home and at Oneida Seminary, Seneca Collegiate Institute at Ovid, and the Young Ladies Institute at Auburn, all upstate New York boarding schools. She subsequently became a teacher at Oneida Seminary. She..
Lucretia Peabody Hale, (born September 2, 1820, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.--died June 12, 1900, Belmont, Massachusetts), American novelist and writer of books for children.Hale was an elder sister of minister and writer Edward Everett Hale and of journalist and writer Charles Hale, and with them she grew up in a cultivated family much involved with literature. In 1850 she and her brother Edward collaborated on a novel, Margaret Percival in America. She began publishing stories in the leading periodicals in 1858. Over the next 30 years she produced a large number of books, many of them on religious..
Robert Montgomery Bird, (born February 5, 1806, New Castle, Delaware, U.S.--died January 23, 1854, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), novelist and dramatist whose work epitomizes the nascent American literature of the first half of the 19th century. Although immensely popular in his day--one of his tragedies, The Gladiator, achieved more than 1,000 performances in Bird's lifetime--his writings are principally of interest in the 21st century to the literary historian.Bird graduated with a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1827 but practiced for only a year. He wrote poetry,..
Jean Auel, nee Jean Marie Untinen, (born February 18, 1936, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.), American novelist who was best known for her Earth's Children series, which centres on Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons in prehistoric Europe.Untinen grew up in Chicago, and right after high-school graduation, she married Ray Auel. She and her husband moved to Oregon, where she had five children and continued her education. She attended Portland State University and in 1976 received a master's degree in business administration from the University of Portland.In 1977 Auel decided to write a short story about..
Gene Stratton Porter, nee Geneva Stratton, (born August 17, 1863, Wabash county, Indiana, U.S.--died December 6, 1924, Los Angeles, California), American novelist, remembered for her fiction rooted in the belief that communion with nature holds the key to moral goodness.Stratton grew up in rural Indiana, where she developed a deep appreciation for nature that was to stay with her throughout her life. In 1886 she married Charles D. Porter; they settled in Geneva, Indiana, and she continued her nature studies from their luxurious home, which she called Limberlost Cabin after a nearby wild..
Robert Coover, in full Robert Lowell Coover, (born February 4, 1932, Charles City, Iowa, U.S.), American writer of avant-garde fiction, plays, poetry, and essays whose experimental forms and techniques mix reality and illusion, frequently creating otherworldly and surreal situations and effects.Coover attended Southern Illinois University, Indiana University (B.A., 1953), and the University of Chicago (M.A., 1965). He taught at several universities, notably Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he was a professor of creative writing from 1979 to 2012.His first,..
Gertrude Atherton, nee Gertrude Franklin Horn, (born Oct. 30, 1857, San Francisco, Calif., U.S.--died June 14, 1948, San Francisco), American novelist, noted as an author of fictional biography and history.Gertrude Horn grew up in a prosperous neighbourhood of her native San Francisco until her parents' divorce and thereafter mainly on the San Jose ranch of her maternal grandfather, under whose stern discipline she was introduced to serious literature. She attended St. Mary's Hall school in Benicia, California, and, for a year, Sayre Institute in Lexington, Kentucky. In February 1876..
William Wharton, pseudonym of Albert William du Aime, (born Nov. 7, 1925, Philadelphia, Pa.--died Oct. 29, 2008, Encinitas, Calif.), American novelist and painter best known for his innovative first novel, Birdy (1979; filmed 1984), a critical and popular success.Wharton spent his youth in Philadelphia. He joined the army upon graduating from high school and was severely wounded in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. After the war, Wharton studied painting (B.A.) and psychology (Ph.D.) at the University of California, Los Angeles. He then spent more than a decade teaching art in..
Flora Adams Darling, nee Flora Adams, (born July 25, 1840, Lancaster, N.H., U.S.--died Jan. 6, 1910, New York, N.Y.), American writer, historian, and organizer, an influential though controversial figure in the founding and early years of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and other patriotic societies.Educated at Lancaster Academy, Flora Adams in 1860 married Edward I. Darling, who died during the Civil War (no records confirm her later claim that he was a Confederate army officer), and after some difficulty she made her way back north. She soon instituted a claim against the..
Frances Hodgson Burnett, nee Frances Eliza Hodgson, (born Nov. 24, 1849, Manchester, Eng.--died Oct. 29, 1924, Plandome, N.Y., U.S.), American playwright and author who wrote the popular novel Little Lord Fauntleroy.Frances Hodgson grew up in increasingly straitened circumstances after the death of her father in 1854. In 1865 the family immigrated to the United States and settled in New Market, near Knoxville, Tennessee, where the promise of support from a maternal uncle failed to materialize. In 1868 Hodgson managed to place a story with Godey's Lady's Book. Within a few years she was being..
J.D. Salinger, in full Jerome David Salinger, (born January 1, 1919, New York, New York, U.S.--died January 27, 2010, Cornish, New Hampshire), American writer whose novel The Catcher in the Rye (1951) won critical acclaim and devoted admirers, especially among the post-World War II generation of college students. His corpus of published works also consists of short stories that were printed in magazines, including the The Saturday Evening Post, Esquire, and The New Yorker.Salinger was the son of a Jewish father and a Christian mother, and, like Holden Caulfield, the hero of The Catcher in..
Ursula K. Le Guin, original name Ursula Kroeber, (born October 21, 1929, Berkeley, California, U.S.--died January 22, 2018, Portland, Oregon), American writer best known for tales of science fiction and fantasy imbued with concern for character development and language.Le Guin, the daughter of distinguished anthropologist A.L. Kroeber and writer Theodora Kroeber, attended Radcliffe College (B.A., 1951) and Columbia University (M.A., 1952). The methods of anthropology influenced her science-fiction stories, which often feature highly detailed descriptions of alien societies...
E.L. Konigsburg, (Elaine Lobl), American children's author (born Feb. 10, 1930, New York, N.Y.--died April 19, 2013, Falls Church, Va.), addressed the everyday problems encountered by children in her award-winning novels and short-story collections, many of which she illustrated herself. Prior to embarking on a full-time writing career, Konigsburg, a graduate (1952) of the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), Pittsburgh, pursued graduate work in chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and taught science at a girls school for several years. Her talent..
Lillie Devereux Blake, nee Elizabeth Johnson Devereux, (born Aug. 12, 1833, Raleigh, N.C., U.S.--died Dec. 30, 1913, Englewood, N.J.), American novelist, essayist, and reformer whose early career as a writer of fiction was succeeded by a zealous activism on behalf of woman suffrage.Elizabeth Devereux grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina, and in New Haven, Connecticut, was educated in a private school and by tutors, and in her youth was a belle of New Haven society. In June 1855 she married a lawyer, with whom she lived in St. Louis, Missouri, and New York City until his death, an apparent suicide,..
O. Henry, pseudonym of William Sydney Porter, original name William Sidney Porter, (born September 11, 1862, Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.--died June 5, 1910, New York, New York), American short-story writer whose tales romanticized the commonplace--in particular the life of ordinary people in New York City. His stories expressed the effect of coincidence on character through humour, grim or ironic, and often had surprise endings, a device that became identified with his name and cost him critical favour when its vogue had passed.Porter attended a school taught by his aunt, then clerked..
Sapphire, byname of Ramona Lofton, (born August 4, 1950, Fort Ord, California, U.S.), American author of fiction and poetry that features unsparing though often empowering depictions of the vicissitudes of African American and bisexual life.Lofton, whose father was a U.S. Army sergeant and whose mother was a member of the Women's Army Corps (WAC), spent portions of her childhood in California, Texas, and West Germany. She briefly attended San Francisco City College in the 1970s, ultimately dropping out to immerse herself in the burgeoning countercultural movement. It was during this period..
Sarah Josepha Hale, nee Sarah Josepha Buell, (born Oct. 24, 1788, Newport, N.H., U.S.--died April 30, 1879, Philadelphia, Pa.), American writer who, as the first female editor of a magazine, shaped many of the attitudes and thoughts of women of her period.Sarah Josepha Buell married David Hale in 1813, and with him she had five children. Left in financial straits by her husband's death in 1822, she embarked on a literary career. Her poems were printed over the signature Cornelia in local journals and were gathered in The Genius of Oblivion (1823). A novel, Northwood, a Tale of New England (1827),..
Pearl S. Buck, nee Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker, pseudonym John Sedges, (born June 26, 1892, Hillsboro, West Virginia, U.S.--died March 6, 1973, Danby, Vermont), American author noted for her novels of life in China. She received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938.Pearl Sydenstricker was raised in Zhenjiang in eastern China by her Presbyterian missionary parents. Initially educated by her mother and a Chinese tutor, she was sent at 15 to a boarding school in Shanghai. Two years later she entered Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Virginia; she graduated in 1914 and remained..
E.L. Doctorow, in full Edgar Lawrence Doctorow, (born January 6, 1931, Bronx, New York, U.S.--died July 21, 2015, New York, New York), American novelist known for his skillful manipulation of traditional genres.Doctorow graduated from Kenyon College (B.A., 1952) and then studied drama and directing for a year at Columbia University. He worked for a time as a script reader for Columbia Pictures in New York City. In 1959 he joined the editorial staff of the New American Library, leaving that post five years later to become editor in chief at Dial Press. He subsequently taught at several colleges..
Dorothy Parker, nee Dorothy Rothschild, (born August 22, 1893, West End, near Long Beach, New Jersey, U.S.--died June 7, 1967, New York, New York), American short-story writer, poet, screenwriter, and critic known for her witty--and often acerbic--remarks. She was one of the founders of the Algonquin Round Table, an informal literary group.Dorothy Rothschild was educated at Miss Dana's School in Morristown, New Jersey, and the Blessed Sacrament Convent School, New York City. She joined the editorial staff of Vogue magazine in 1916 and the next year moved to Vanity Fair as a drama critic...
William Faulkner, in full William Cuthbert Faulkner, original surname Falkner, (born September 25, 1897, New Albany, Mississippi, U.S.--died July 6, 1962, Byhalia, Mississippi), American novelist and short-story writer who was awarded the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature.Youth and early writingsAs the eldest of the four sons of Murry Cuthbert and Maud Butler Falkner, William Faulkner (as he later spelled his name) was well aware of his family background and especially of his great-grandfather, Colonel William Clark Falkner, a colourful if violent figure who fought gallantly during..
Richard Thomas Condon, U.S. novelist who wrote such thrillers as The Manchurian Candidate and Winter Kills, both concerning political assassination, and Prizzi's Honor, about a family of mobsters (b. March 18, 1915--d. April 9, 1996).
Annie Elizabeth Delany, ("BESSIE"), noted U.S. centenarian and co-writer with her older sister, Sadie, of Having Our Say (1993), which became the basis of a Broadway play and chronicled the changes the African-American sisters faced during over a century of living (b. Sept. 3, 1891--d. Sept. 25, 1995).
Walter Dumaux Edmonds, American writer of historical novels that explored the lives of "ordinary" characters; his best-known book, Drums Along the Mohawk (1936), chronicled the struggles of pioneer farmers during the American Revolution and was filmed in 1939 (b. July 15, 1903, Boonville, N.Y.--d. Jan. 24, 1998, Concord, Mass.).
Judith Perelman Rossner, American novelist (born March 31, 1935, New York, N.Y.--died Aug. 9, 2005, New York City), examined the lives and experiences of modern women as they coped with loneliness, love, and their sexuality. Her best-known book, Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1975; filmed 1977)--inspired by a New York City schoolteacher's murder at the hands of a man she had picked up in a singles bar--became a best seller. Another best seller was August (1983).
Jervis Anderson, Jamaican-born American biographer and journalist (born Oct. 1, 1932, Jamaica--found dead Jan. 7, 2000, New York, N.Y.), was a staff writer for The New Yorker from 1968 to 1998 and wrote highly praised biographies of African American civil rights leaders Bayard Rustin and A. Philip Randolph. Serialized in The New Yorker in 1972, Anderson's profile of Randolph appeared in book form as A. Philip Randolph: A Biographical Portrait in 1973. Bayard Rustin: Troubles I've Seen (1997) became a best-seller...
Mary Lee Settle, American author (born July 29, 1918, Charleston, W.Va.--died Sept. 27, 2005, Ivy, Va.), penned the critically acclaimed Beulah Quintet--a historical fiction that traced events from Cromwellian England to 20th-century West Virginia. The saga debuted in 1956 with O Beulah Land and continued with Know Nothing (1960), Prisons (1973), The Scapegoat (1980), and The Killing Ground (1982). Settle won the National Book Award in 1978 for her novel Blood Tie. Two years later she established a new literary prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award...
N. Richard Nash, (Nathan Richard Nusbaum), American playwright, screenwriter, and novelist (born June 7, 1913, Philadelphia, Pa.--died Dec. 11, 2000, New York, N.Y.), found his greatest success with The Rainmaker, which was a Broadway drama (1954) and a film (1956), was translated into some 40 languages, and was made into the musical 110 in the Shade (1963). He also wrote the screenplay for Porgy and Bess (1959); wrote the books for Broadway musicals, including Wildcat (1960), which he also produced; and published such novels as East Wind, Rain (1977)...
Gordon Rupert Dickson, Canadian-born American science-fiction writer (born Nov. 1, 1923, Edmonton, Alta.--died Jan. 31, 2001, Minneapolis, Minn.), was one of the world's most prominent science-fiction writers; he published more than 80 novels and some 200 short stories. Among Dickson's best-known science-fiction works were Dorsai! (1960), Soldier, Ask Not (1967), and Tactics of Mistake (1971). He also excelled in the fantasy genre; his 1976 novel The Dragon and the George won the British Fantasy Society's August Derleth Award. Dickson served as president of the Science Fiction Writers..
Frank Conroy, American author (born Jan. 15, 1936, New York, N.Y.--died April 6, 2005, Iowa City, Iowa), was revered as both a sensitive writer of nonfiction and a demanding yet inspiring teacher of the literary arts. He first came to prominence with the publication of Stop-Time (1967), a memoir of his nomadic childhood. A talented jazz pianist, he played in clubs along the East Coast while still pursuing his writing. In the late 1970s he discovered his talent for developing young writers. He taught writing at several universities before joining the staff of the renowned University of Iowa Writers'..
Julius Fast, American author (born 1919, New York, N.Y.--died Dec. 16, 2008, Kingston, N.Y.), demonstrated versatility and a keen curiosity in dozens of books ranging from mystery novels to nonfiction works on subjects such as human relationships, health, and the Beatles. The recipient of the first Edgar Award, given by the Mystery Writers of America, for his debut novel Watchful at Night (1945), Fast went on to write the best seller Body Language (1970), as well as The New Sexual Fulfillment (1972), Talking Between the Lines: How We Mean More Than We Say (1979; with his wife, Barbara Sher), Weather..
R.A. Lafferty, American writer (born Nov. 7, 1914, Neola, Iowa--died March 18, 2002, Broken Arrow, Okla.), was a prolific award-winning author of science-fiction and historical novels; he also published more than 200 short stories. Lafferty did not begin his writing career until 1960, when he published his short story "Day of the Glacier" in Science Fiction Stories. Other works included Past Master (1968), his first novel and one of his most popular science-fiction books, and the historical novel Okla Hannali (1972). The World Science Fiction Society gave Lafferty its Hugo Award in 1973..
Alice Hegan Rice, (born January 11, 1870, Shelbyville, Kentucky, U.S.--died February 10, 1942, Louisville, Kentucky), American novelist and short-story writer most widely known for her 1901 best-seller, Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch, a book often translated, staged, and filmed since its publication.Rice was the daughter of a successful art dealer. At the age of 16 she served as an aide at a mission Sunday school in a Louisville slum known as the Cabbage Patch. With Louise Marshall, she later founded (1910) the Cabbage Patch Settlement House in Louisville, which grew to include a paid staff..
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Ira Marvin Levin, American author (born Aug. 27, 1929, New York, N.Y.--died Nov. 12, 2007, New York City), thrilled readers with his best-selling Gothic and suspense novels, most famously A Kiss Before Dying (1953 ) Rosemary's Baby (1967), and The Stepford Wives (1972). Though his works were not considered fine literature, they were page-turners, and nearly all of them were adapted into films, which in turn served as inspiration for a spate of sequels and other horror movies. Levin wrote only seven novels in 40 years, but he also produced a number of plays, notably Deathtrap, which ran for nearly..
Hugh Barnett Cave, American pulp-fiction author (born July 11, 1910, Chester, Eng.--died June 27, 2004, Vero Beach, Fla.), entertained and astonished readers with engaging stories covering a wide range of genres, including science fiction, westerns, romances, detective yarns, adventures, supernatural and horror tales, and, during World War II, even military nonfiction. Cave's lifelong writing career began at age 15, when his first short story, "Retribution," was published in the Boston Globe. He was best known for his bizarre plots, which appeared in pulp magazines such as Horror Stories,..
Josephine Humphreys, (born February 2, 1945, Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.), American novelist noted for her sensitive evocations of family life in the southern United States.Humphreys studied creative writing with Reynolds Price at Duke University (A.B., 1967) and attended Yale University (M.A., 1968) and the University of Texas. From 1970 to 1977, before beginning her writing career, she taught at Baptist College in Charleston. Her first novel, Dreams of Sleep (1983), examines a faltering marriage that is saved by a third party. Her later novels include Rich in Love (1987; film 1992),..
Shirley Ann Grau, (born July 8, 1929, New Orleans, La., U.S.), American novelist and short-story writer noted for her examinations of evil and isolation among American Southerners, both black and white.Grau's first book, The Black Prince, and Other Stories (1955), had considerable success. Her first novel, The Hard Blue Sky (1958), concerns Cajun fishermen and their families. This was followed by The House on Coliseum Street (1961), which examines the lives of a mother and her five daughters, each from a different liaison, and their relationships with men. Three generations of the Howland..
Meyer Levin, (born October 8, 1905, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.--died July 9, 1981, Jerusalem), American author of novels and nonfiction about the Jewish people and Israel.Levin first became known with the novel Yehuda (1931). In 1945 he wrote and produced the first Palestinian feature film, My Father's House (book, 1947), which tells of Jews who are driven out of Poland and reunite in Palestine. Other major works are Citizens (1940)--about the 1937 steel strikes in Chicago, in which 10 strikers were killed--and Compulsion (1956)--about the Leopold-Loeb murder case.From 1933 to 1939 Levin..
Damon Francis Knight, American science-fiction writer, editor, and critic (born Sept. 19, 1922, Baker City, Ore.--died April 15, 2002, Eugene, Ore.), wrote more than a dozen novels and over 100 short stories--the best known of which, "To Serve Man" (1950), was adapted for the television series The Twilight Zone and became a classic--but made a greater impact on the genre as an editor and critic. In the 1940s, as a member of the Futurians, a group of influential writers, he began his mission of raising the standards of science-fiction writing and treating it as serious literature. Knight founded..
William Hill Brown, (born November 1765, Boston--died Sept. 2, 1793, Murfreesboro, N.C., U.S.), novelist and dramatist whose anonymously published The Power of Sympathy, or the Triumph of Nature Founded in Truth (1789) is considered the first American novel. An epistolary novel about tragic, incestuous love, it followed the sentimental style developed by Samuel Richardson; its popularity began a flood of sentimental novels.The son of the Boston clockmaker who made the timepiece in Old South Church, Boston, Brown wrote the romantic tale "Harriot, or the Domestic Reconciliation" (1789),..
Charles Henri Ford, (Charles Henry Ford), American poet, writer, and artist (born Feb. 10, 1908, Hazlehurst, Miss.--died Sept. 27, 2002, New York, N.Y.), lived and worked among the bohemian avant-garde. His poems first appeared in print while he was a teenager, and in all he published 16 books of poetry, most of it in a Surrealist vein. In 1929 he founded Blues: A Magazine of New Rhythms, which in its eight issues included contributions by some of the most celebrated writers of the day. In 1933, with Parker Tyler, he wrote The Young and Evil, which was considered to be the first gay novel and was banned..
Elmer Kelton, American novelist (born April 29, 1926, Andrews, Texas--died Aug. 22, 2009, San Angelo, Texas), penned dozens of westerns, notably The Good Old Boys (1978; filmed 1995), that were recognized for their sharply drawn characters and historical verisimilitude. Kelton served (1944-46) in the U.S. Army before receiving a journalism degree (1948) from the University of Texas at Austin. The son of a cowman, he marked his debut as a fiction writer with Hot Iron (1956), about cattle ranching in Texas, and his many subsequent novels earned him numerous prizes, including the National Cowboy..
Dumas Malone, (born Jan. 10, 1892, Coldwater, Miss., U.S.--died Dec. 27, 1986, Charlottesville, Va.), American historian, editor, and the author of an authoritative multivolume biography of Thomas Jefferson.Malone was educated at Emory and Yale universities. He taught at Yale, Columbia, and the University of Virginia, where he was the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor of History. He edited the Dictionary of American Biography from 1929 to 1936 and the Political Science Quarterly from 1953 to 1958 and served as director of the Harvard University Press from 1936 to 1943. Malone's masterwork..
Edward P. Jones, in full Edward Paul Jones, (born October 5, 1950, Washington, D.C., U.S.), American novelist and short-story writer whose works depict the effects of slavery in antebellum America and the lives of working-class African Americans.Jones attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and studied writing at the University of Virginia. He taught briefly, and then for 10 years he worked as a proofreader. His debut collection of short stories, Lost in the City (1993), earned critical recognition, but more than a decade passed before his next book.Jones began..
Virginia Hamilton, American children's author (born March 12, 1936, Yellow Springs, Ohio--died Feb. 19, 2002, Dayton, Ohio), was a master storyteller who preserved black oral tradition following intensive research that uncovered long-forgotten riddles, stories, and traditions, many of which she resurrected in such books as The People Could Fly (1985) and Many Thousand Gone: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom (1993). Her first work, Zeely (1967), appeared at a time when most books devoted to the African American experience dealt with issues such as racial segregation and poverty...
Harry Mark Petrakis, (born June 5, 1923, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.), American novelist and short-story writer whose exuberant and sensitive works deal with the lives of Greek immigrants in urban America.Petrakis, the son of an Eastern Orthodox priest, attended the University of Illinois (1940-41) and held a variety of jobs to support himself while writing. His novels and stories, usually set in Chicago, included Lion at My Heart (1959); The Odyssey of Kostas Volakis (1963); A Dream of Kings (1966) and its sequel, Ghost of the Sun (1990); The Hour of the Bell (1976) and its sequel, The Shepherds..
Philip Jose Farmer, American science-fiction author (born Jan. 26, 1918, North Terre Haute, Ind.--died Feb. 25, 2009, Peoria, Ill.), combined fast-paced action with religious and political exploration in dozens of popular works. Farmer burst onto the scene in 1952 with the short story "The Lovers," a shockingly frank exploration of sex between a human man and an insectoid alien female; it won him a Hugo Award for best new writer. He was best known for his series of novels, including the Riverworld, World of Tiers, and Dayworld sequences; he also wrote biographies of fictional characters, notably..
Emma Southworth, nee Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte, also called Mrs. E.D.E.N. Southworth, (born December 26, 1819, Washington, D.C., U.S.--died June 30, 1899, Washington), one of the most popular of the 19th-century American sentimental novelists. For more than 50 years, her sentimental domestic novels reached a wide audience in the United States and Europe.After teaching school for five years, Emma Nevitte married Frederick Southworth, an itinerant inventor. When the couple separated in 1844, she turned to writing to support her family. Her first novel, Retribution (1849), sold 200,000..
H.L. Davis, in full Harold Lenoir Davis, (born Oct. 18, 1896, Yoncalla, Ore., U.S.--died Oct. 31, 1960, San Antonio, Texas), American novelist and poet who wrote realistically about the West, rejecting the stereotype of the cowboy as hero.Davis worked as a cowboy, typesetter, and surveyor and in other jobs before being recognized for his writing. He first received recognition for his poems, written as imitations of the poetry of Detlev von Liliencron, a 19th-century German poet. Later Davis was encouraged by H.L. Mencken to try prose, and the results appeared in American Mercury. In 1932 Davis..
Ernest William Callenbach, ("Chick"), American author (born April 3, 1929, Williamsport, Pa.--died April 16, 2012, Berkeley, Calif.), founded Banyan Tree Books to publish his book Ectopia (1975), about a country made up of states that have seceded from the U.S. amid a faltering economy, with a female president and citizens who abide by eco-friendly standards and principles, embracing solar power, recycling, electric cars, and locally grown organic food. The cult work, which had been rejected by 25 publishers, helped underscore principles of the nascent environmental movement. It was..
Laura Z. Hobson, original name Laura Kean Zametkin, (born June 18/19, 1900, New York City--died Feb. 28, 1986, New York City), American novelist and short-story writer noted for her novel Gentleman's Agreement (1947), a best-selling study of anti-Semitism.The daughter of Jewish socialist parents, she was educated at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., and married Thayer Hobson in 1930. The marriage ended in divorce in 1935. In the early 1930s she began writing advertising copy and short stories, and in 1934 she joined the promotional staff of the Luce publications (Time, Life, and Fortune..
Kenneth Fearing, in full Kenneth Flexner Fearing, (born July 28, 1902, Oak Park, Illinois, U.S.--died June 26, 1961, New York, New York), American poet and novelist who used an array of topical phrases and idiom in his satires of urban life.Fearing worked briefly as a reporter in Chicago. In 1924 he moved to New York City and was a commercial freelance writer for the rest of his life. In his poetry Fearing depicted a mechanized society devoid of belief, faith, and love; his staccato idiom expresses a viewpoint indigenous to America. His work, acclaimed for its power, vividness, and wit, appeared..
Conrad Michael Richter, (born Oct. 13, 1890, Pine Grove, Pa., U.S.--died Oct. 30, 1968, Pottsville, Pa.), American short-story writer and novelist known for his lyrical fiction about early America.As a young man, Richter did odd jobs and at age 19 became the editor of the Patton (Pennsylvania) Courier. He then worked as a reporter and founded a juvenile magazine that he liquidated before moving to New Mexico in 1928. In an era when many American writers steeped themselves in European culture, Richter was fascinated with American history, and he spent years researching frontier life. He is best..
L. Frank Baum, in full Lyman Frank Baum, (born May 15, 1856, Chittenango, New York, U.S.--died May 6, 1919, Hollywood, California), American writer known for his series of books for children about the imaginary land of Oz.Baum began his career as a journalist, initially in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and then in Chicago. His first book, Father Goose (1899), was a commercial success, and he followed it the next year with the even more popular The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A modern fairy tale, it tells the story of Dorothy, a Kansas farm girl who is blown by a cyclone to the land of Oz, where she is befriended..
Harry Eugene Crews, American novelist (born June 7, 1935, Alma, Ga.--died March 28, 2012, Gainesville, Fla.), won a cult following for his offbeat and bleakly comic tales rooted in the Southern Gothic tradition. Crews began creating stories as a sickly and poverty-stricken youth in rural Georgia, and the work of Graham Greene, which he read while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps (1953-56), inspired him to pursue fiction as a career. Crews's first novel, The Gospel Singer (1968), which centred on an assortment of depraved and grotesque characters, established him as a lively chronicler of the..
Claude Brown, (born February 23, 1937, New York, New York, U.S.--died February 2, 2002, New York City), American author who wrote Manchild in the Promised Land (1965), a landmark work in African American literature that chronicled his poverty-stricken childhood in the Harlem district of New York City.Brown turned to crime at a young age and eventually was sent to a reformatory in upstate New York. One of his teachers there took an interest in him and, after Brown returned to Harlem and criminal activity, encouraged him to pursue other options. Brown eventually completed high school and enrolled..
Maria Susanna Cummins, (born April 19, 1827, Salem, Mass., U.S.--died Oct. 1, 1866, Dorchester, Mass.), American author, most remembered for her sentimental first novel, The Lamplighter, which achieved enormous popular success but met with much withering critical scorn.Cummins was educated at home and at a fashionable girls' school in Lenox, Massachusetts. She thereafter lived all her life with her family in Dorchester. She developed an interest in writing during her school days, and the publication of some of her early short stories encouraged her. In 1854 she published The Lamplighter,..
Jane Bowles, in full Jane Sydney Bowles, nee Auer, (born Feb. 22, 1917, New York, N.Y., U.S.--died May 4, 1973, Malaga, Spain), American author whose small body of highly individualistic work enjoyed an underground reputation even when it was no longer in print.She was raised in the United States and was educated in Switzerland by French governesses. She married the composer-author Paul Bowles in 1938. They lived in Costa Rica, France, Mexico, and the United States, where she began writing her only published novel, Two Serious Ladies (1943). For a time the couple lived in a boardinghouse with,..
Joseph Hansen, (born July 19, 1923, Aberdeen, South Dakota, U.S.--died November 24, 2004, Laguna Beach, California), American writer, author of a series of crime novels featuring the homosexual insurance investigator and detective Dave Brandstetter.Hansen, who also wrote under the pseudonyms Rose Brock and James Colton, began his career as an editor, novelist, and journalist in the 1960s. He taught writing at the University of California in Los Angeles from 1977 to 1986.In Fadeout (1970), the first novel to feature Brandstetter, the detective falls in love with a man whom he clears of murder..
MacKinlay Kantor, in full Benjamin McKinlay Kantor, (born Feb. 4, 1904, Webster City, Iowa, U.S.--died Oct. 11, 1977, Sarasota, Fla.), American author and newspaperman whose more than 30 novels and numerous popular short stories include the highly acclaimed Andersonville (1955; filmed for television 1996), a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the American Civil War.After finishing high school, Kantor became a reporter for The Webster City Daily News, of which his mother was an editor. He subsequently lived in Chicago for a number of years before returning to Iowa as a columnist for the..
Mark Harris, (Mark Harris Finkelstein), American novelist (born Nov. 19, 1922, Mount Vernon, N.Y.--died May 30, 2007, Santa Barbara, Calif.), was the author of the baseball tetralogy that chronicled the adventures of Henry Wiggen, a talented pitcher for the fictional New York Mammoths baseball team; the second novel in the series, Bang the Drum Slowly (1956), was hailed as one of the 100 greatest sports novels of all time. The story line focused on Wiggen's encouraging his teammates to embrace the team's terminally ill catcher, who is inspired by Wiggen to improve his game despite his illness...
Nella Larsen, married name Nella Imes, (born April 13, 1891, Chicago, Ill., U.S.--died March 30, 1964, New York, N.Y.), novelist and short-story writer of the Harlem Renaissance.Larsen was born to a Danish mother and a West Indian father who died when she was two years old. She studied for a year at Fisk University, where she first experienced life within an all-black community, and later audited classes at the University of Copenhagen (1910-12) in Denmark. Settling in New York City, she graduated from nursing school and also became a children's librarian. Her marriage to a black physics professor..
Roark Bradford, in full Roark Whitney Wickliffe Bradford, (born August 21, 1896, Lauderdale county, Tennessee, U.S.--died November 13, 1948, New Orleans, Louisiana), American novelist and short-story writer whose works of fiction and folklore were based on his contacts with American blacks.Bradford had little formal education; instead, he found the substance for his career in the people around him. When he began work as a reporter in 1920, he met the colourful characters of various Southern cities, including the musicians, preachers, and storytellers on the riverfront of New Orleans...
Henry Dumas, (born July 20, 1934, Sweet Home, Ark., U.S.--died May 23, 1968, New York, N.Y.), African-American author of poetry and fiction who wrote about the clash between black and white cultures.Dumas grew up in Arkansas and in New York City's Harlem. While in the U.S. Air Force (1953-57) he won creative-writing awards for his contributions to Air Force periodicals. He attended City College in New York and Rutgers University (1958-61) and studied with jazz artist-philosopher Sun Ra; he then taught at Hiram College (1967) and Southern Illinois University (1967-68). Religion (especially..
Matthew Josephson, (born Feb. 15, 1899, Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.--died March 13, 1978, Santa Cruz, Calif.), U.S. biographer whose clear writing was based on sound and thorough scholarship.As an expatriate in Paris in the 1920s, Josephson was an associate editor of Broom (1922-24), which featured both American and European writers. He had believed that the American artist who wished to avoid being absorbed by industrialism had no choice but exile; soon, however, Josephson returned to America to watch what he described as the battle between mechanism and ideas. After coming close to a breakdown..
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, American author (born May 2, 1950, Dayton, Ohio--died April 12, 2009, New York, N.Y.), was a professor of English (1988-92) at Duke University, Durham, N.C., when she published the highly influential Epistemology of the Closet (1990), a groundbreaking work in the academic field of queer studies, which she was credited with founding. In Sedgwick's analysis there were two understandings of homosexuality--a minoritizing view, which held that there is a "distinct population of persons who 'really' are gay," and a universalizing view, in which "apparently heterosexual..
Mary Mapes Dodge, in full Mary Elizabeth Mapes Dodge, (born Jan. 26, 1831, New York, N.Y., U.S.--died Aug. 21, 1905, Onteora Park, N.Y.), American author of children's books and first editor of St. Nicholas magazine.As the daughter of an inventor and scientist, Mapes grew up in an environment where such prominent men as William Cullen Bryant and Horace Greeley were entertained. At 20 she married William Dodge, a lawyer, and they had two sons. To maintain her independence after she was suddenly widowed seven years later, she started writing children's stories. Her first collection, Irvington..
S.J. Perelman, in full Sidney Joseph Perelman, (born Feb. 1, 1904, Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.--died Oct. 17, 1979, New York, N.Y.), American humorist who was a master of wordplay in books, movies, plays, and essays.Perelman's parents moved the family from Brooklyn to Providence, R.I., during his childhood. He attended but did not graduate from Brown University, where he edited the school humour magazine. He began writing for the early, frenetic Marx Brothers films and helped turn out the screenplays for such classics as Monkey Business (1931) and Horse Feathers (1932). Laura West, whom he had married..
Leonard Michaels, (born January 2, 1933, New York, New York, U.S.--died May 10, 2003, Berkeley, California), American short-story writer, novelist, and essayist known for his compelling urban tales of whimsy and tragedy.Michaels was educated at New York University (B.A., 1953) and at the University of Michigan (M.A., 1956; Ph.D., 1966). He began his writing and teaching career in New York City in the early 1960s, then joined the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, in the 1970s. Many of the stories in his first two volumes of short fiction--Going Places (1969) and I Would Have..
Donald Davidson, in full Donald Grady Davidson, (born Aug. 8, 1893, Campbellsville, Tenn., U.S.--died April 25, 1968, Nashville, Tenn.), American poet, essayist, and teacher who warned against technology and idealized the agrarian, pre-Civil War American South.While attending Vanderbilt University, Nashville (B.A., 1917; M.A., 1922), Davidson became one of the Fugitives, a group of Southern writers determined to conserve their region's distinctive literature and rural economy. They published a journal, The Fugitive (1922-25), and contributed essays to the book I'll Take My Stand:..
Walter Abish, (born December 24, 1931, Vienna, Austria), Austrian-born American writer of experimental novels and short stories whose fiction takes as its subject language itself.Abish spent his childhood in Shanghai, where his family were refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe. In 1949 they moved to Israel, where Abish served in the army and developed strong interests in architecture and writing. He immigrated to the United States in 1957 and became a citizen in 1960. From 1975 Abish taught English at several eastern colleges and universities and was a guest professor at Yale University and..
Harriet Elizabeth Prescott Spofford, nee Harriet Elizabeth Prescott, (born April 3, 1835, Calais, Maine, U.S.--died Aug. 14, 1921, Amesbury, Mass.), American writer whose Gothic romances are set apart by luxuriant description and her unconventional handling of the female stereotypes of her day.Harriet Prescott moved from her native Maine to Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1849 and attended the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire, in 1853-55. In part to aid the family's precarious finances and with the encouragement of social reformer and author Thomas W.S. Higginson, she turned..
Robert Brown Parker, American author (born Sept. 17, 1932, Springfield, Mass.--died Jan. 18, 2010, Cambridge, Mass.), created two well-known detective series--one featuring Spenser, a hard-boiled, wise-cracking Boston-based private eye (his first name is not revealed) who also exhibits a sensitive side as he solves crimes and ruminates on human nature, and the other featuring Jesse Stone, a divorced alcoholic who serves as the chief of police in a Massachusetts town. Parker was a technical and advertising writer before his wife, Joan, urged him to turn to fiction writing. He earned a Ph.D...
Douglas Woolf, (born March 23, 1922, New York, N.Y., U.S.--died Jan. 18, 1992, Urbana, Ill.), American author of gently comic fiction about people unassimilated into materialistic, technological society.The heir of a prominent professional family, Woolf studied at Harvard University (1939-42) before serving in the American Field Service (1942-43) and the Army Air Forces (1943-45) during World War II. He also studied at the Universities of New Mexico (A.B., 1950) and Arizona. Subsequently he traveled throughout the United States and worked at a series of transitory jobs. His short stories..
Fritz Leiber, in full Fritz Reuter Leiber, Jr., (born Dec. 24, 1910, Chicago, Ill., U.S.--died Sept. 5, 1992, San Francisco, Calif.), American writer noted for his stories of innovation in sword-and-sorcery, contemporary horror, and satiric science fiction.Leiber, the son of stage and film actors, studied at the University of Chicago (Ph.B., 1932) and the Episcopalian General Theological Seminary (1932-33) and performed on stage and in films before his first published story, "Two Sought Adventure," appeared in 1939. The story introduced the characters Grey Mouser and Fahfrd, who were..
Meridel Le Sueur, (born Feb. 22, 1900, Murray, Iowa, U.S.--died Nov. 14, 1996, Hudson, Wis.), American author who espoused feminism and social reform in her fiction, journalism, and poetry.Le Sueur grew up on the Midwestern plains, where she was influenced by her family's heritage of social and political activism and by the stories and poetry she heard from Native American women. She quit high school, acted in silent films, and began writing fiction and working as a journalist in the late 1920s. Traveling throughout the United States, she reported for left-wing newspapers, including the Daily..
Louis Adamic, (born March 23, 1899, Blato, Slovenia, Austria-Hungary [now in Slovenia]--died Sept. 4, 1951, near Riegelsville, N.J., U.S.), novelist and journalist who wrote about the experience of American minorities, especially immigrants, in the early 1900s.Adamic immigrated to the United States from Yugoslavia at age 14 and was naturalized in 1918. He wrote about what he called the failure of the American melting pot in Laughing in the Jungle (1932). He returned to Yugoslavia on a Guggenheim Fellowship and wrote about the experience in The Native's Return (1934), the story of a man who..
Joseph McElroy, in full Joseph Prince McElroy, (born August 21, 1930, New York, New York, U.S.), American novelist and short-story writer who was known for intricate, lengthy, and technically complex fiction.McElroy graduated from Williams College (B.A., 1951) and Columbia University (M.A., 1952; Ph.D., 1961). From 1952 to 1954 he served in the U.S. Coast Guard. He later taught at the University of New Hampshire (1956-62) and at Queens College, City University of New York (1964-95).McElroy's first novel, A Smuggler's Bible (1966), is made up of eight disconnected chapters that are separated..
S.N. Behrman, in full Samuel Nathaniel Behrman, (born June 9, 1893, Worcester, Mass., U.S.--died Sept. 9, 1973, New York City), American short-story writer and playwright best known for popular Broadway plays that commented on contemporary moral issues. Behrman wrote about the wealthy, intellectual sector of society, endowing his characters with eloquence and intelligence. He is distinguished among popular playwrights for introducing volatile and complicated issues into his plays and for refusing to create shallow characters.As a young man, Behrman contributed to newspapers and..
Jack Conroy, byname of John Wesley Conroy, pseudonym Tim Brennan, or John Norcross, (born December 5, 1899, near Moberly, Missouri, U.S.--died February 28, 1990, Moberly, Missouri), leftist American writer best known for his contributions to "proletarian literature," fiction and nonfiction about the life of American workers during the early decades of the 20th century.Conroy, who was born in a coal camp, was a migratory worker in the 1920s. He first became known in 1933 with his critically acclaimed novel The Disinherited. This largely autobiographical book depicts the coming of age of..
Mary Virginia Hawes Terhune, nee Mary Virginia Hawes, pseudonym Marion Harland, (born Dec. 21, 1830, Dennisville, Va., U.S.--died June 3, 1922, New York, N.Y.), American writer who achieved great success with both her romantic novels and her books and columns of advice for homemakers.Mary Hawes grew up in her hometown of Dennisville, Virginia, and from 1844 in nearby Richmond. She was well educated by private tutors and in her father's library. Writing under the pseudonym Marion Harland, she published her first novel, Alone (1854), privately in Richmond; two years later it appeared in a commercial..
William Maxwell, original name William Maxwell Keepers, Jr., (born Aug. 16, 1908, Lincoln, Ill., U.S.--died July 31, 2000, New York, N.Y.), American editor and author of spare, evocative short stories and novels about small-town life in the American Midwest in the early 20th century.Educated at the University of Illinois (B.A., 1930) and Harvard University (M.A., 1931), Maxwell taught English at the University of Illinois before joining the staff of The New Yorker magazine, where he worked from 1936 to 1976, first in the art department and then as a fiction editor. Among the writers he edited..
Jim Thompson, in full James Myers Thompson, (born Sept. 27, 1906, Anadarko, Okla., U.S.--died April 7, 1977, Los Angeles, Calif.), American novelist and screenwriter best known for his paperback pulp novels narrated by seemingly normal men who are revealed to be psychopathic.After graduating from the University of Nebraska, Thompson worked in a number of odd jobs before becoming affiliated with the Federal Writers' Project in the 1930s. He later worked as a journalist for the New York Daily News and the Los Angeles Times Mirror. Blacklisted for leftist politics during the anticommunist..
Michael Rumaker, (born March 5, 1932, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.--died June 3, 2019, Sewell, New Jersey), American author whose works were often semiautobiographical and featured gay protagonists.Rumaker graduated with honours from Black Mountain College in North Carolina in 1955. He then lived for more than a year in San Francisco, where he became involved in the Beat movement. In 1958, after moving to New York City, he suffered an emotional breakdown, for which he was hospitalized until 1960. He later received an M.F.A. in creative writing from Columbia University (1969) and afterward..
Rebecca Blaine Harding Davis, nee Rebecca Blaine Harding, (born June 24, 1831, Washington, Pa., U.S.--died Sept. 29, 1910, Mount Kisco, N.Y.), American essayist and writer, remembered primarily for her story "Life in the Iron Mills," which is considered a transitional work of American realism.Rebecca Harding graduated from the Washington Female Seminary in 1848. An avid reader, she had begun dabbling in the writing of verse and stories in her youth. Some of her early pieces were published, but her reputation as an author of startlingly realistic, sometimes grim, portraits of life began..
Alice Dunbar Nelson, in full Alice Ruth Dunbar Nelson, nee Moore, (born July 19, 1875, New Orleans, La., U.S.--died Sept. 18, 1935, Philadelphia, Pa.), novelist, poet, essayist, and critic associated with the early period of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and '30s.The daughter of a Creole seaman and a black seamstress, Moore grew up in New Orleans, where she completed a two-year teacher-training program at Straight University by age 17. She further studied at Cornell University, the Pennsylvania School of Industrial Art, and the University of Pennsylvania. She taught at the elementary,..
James Wright, in full James Arlington Wright, (born Dec. 13, 1927, Martin's Ferry, Ohio, U.S.--died March 25, 1980, New York, N.Y.), American poet of the postmodern era who wrote about sorrow, salvation, and self-revelation, often drawing on his native Ohio River valley for images of nature and industry. In 1972 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Collected Poems (1971).After serving in the U.S. Army in World War II, Wright studied under John Crowe Ransom at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio (B.A., 1952), received a Fulbright scholarship to the University of Vienna (1952-53), and continued his studies..
Richard Kostelanetz, in full Richard Cory Kostelanetz, (born May 14, 1940, New York, New York, U.S.), American writer, artist, critic, and editor of the avant-garde whose work spans many fields.Kostelanetz attended Brown University (B.A., 1962), Columbia University (M.A., 1966), and King's College, London. He served as visiting professor or guest artist at a variety of institutions and lectured widely.In 1971, employing a radically formalist approach, Kostelanetz produced the novel In the Beginning, which consists of the alphabet, in single- and double-letter combinations, unfolding..
Zulfikar Ghose, (born March 13, 1935, Sialkot, India [now Pakistan]), Pakistani American author of novels, poetry, and criticism about cultural alienation.Ghose grew up a Muslim in Sialkot and in largely Hindu Bombay (Mumbai) and then moved with his family to England. He graduated from Keele (England) University in 1959 and married Helena de la Fontaine, an artist from Brazil (a country he later used as the setting for six of his novels). In 1969 he moved to the United States to teach at the University of Texas, from which he retired as professor emeritus in 2007. Ghose became a U.S. citizen in 2004.Ghose's..
Paul Zindel, (born May 15, 1936, Staten Island, New York, U.S.--died March 27, 2003, New York, New York), American playwright and novelist whose largely autobiographical work features poignant, alienated characters who deal with life's difficulties in pragmatic and straightforward ways.Zindel developed an interest in science at a young age, and from his early years he wrote plays and acted. He was educated at Wagner College, Staten Island, New York (B.S., 1958; M.Sc., 1959), and he taught high school chemistry from 1960 to 1969 before becoming a full-time writer in 1972. In most of Zindel's..
Augusta Jane Evans Wilson, nee Augusta Jane Evans, (born May 8, 1835, Wynnton [now part of Columbus], Ga., U.S.--died May 9, 1909, Mobile, Ala.), American author whose sentimental, moralistic novels met with great popular success.Augusta Jane Evans received little formal schooling but early became an avid reader. At age 15 she began writing a story that was published anonymously in 1855 as Inez: A Tale of the Alamo, a sentimental, moralistic novel laced with anti-Catholic prejudice. In 1859 she published Beulah--a somewhat pedantic tale concerned with religious doubt--which was fairly..
Harriet Mann Miller, nee Harriet Mann, pseudonym Olive Thorne, Harriet M. Miller, or Olive Thorne Miller, (born June 25, 1831, Auburn, N.Y., U.S.--died Dec. 25, 1918, Los Angeles, Calif.), American children's author whose writing tended to either heartrending fiction about desolate children or lively, factual nature pieces.Harriet Mann grew up in various towns as her itinerant father drifted from place to place, and her schooling was consequently irregular. In 1854 she married Watts T. Miller. She devoted a number of years to domestic cares, but her childhood interest in story writing..
Richard Howard, (born October 13, 1929, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.), American poet, critic, and translator who was influential in introducing modern French poetry and experimental novels to readers of English and whose own volume of verse, Untitled Subjects (1969), won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1970.Howard was educated at Columbia University, New York City (B.A., 1951; M.A., 1952), and at the Sorbonne. He then worked as a lexicographer before becoming a freelance critic and translator. He taught comparative literature at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, and was a fellow at Yale University...
Bess Genevra Streeter Aldrich, nee Bess Genevra Streeter, pseudonym (until 1918) Margaret Dean Stevens, (born Feb. 17, 1881, Cedar Falls, Iowa, U.S.--died Aug. 3, 1954, Lincoln, Neb.), American author whose prolific output of novels and short stories evoked the American Plains and the people who settled them.Bess Streeter graduated from Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa) in 1901 and then taught school for five years. In 1907 she married Charles S. Aldrich. From an early age she had been interested in writing, and at the age of 14 she had sold a story to the Chicago..
Sarah Chauncey Woolsey, pseudonym Susan Coolidge, (born Jan. 29, 1835, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.--died April 9, 1905, Newport, R.I.), American children's author whose vivacious and mischievous heroines presented a popular contrast to the norm of her day.Woolsey displayed a love for reading and writing stories at an early age. In 1855 she moved with her family to New Haven, Connecticut (her uncle, Theodore Dwight Woolsey, was president of Yale College). During the Civil War she was active in hospital work. In 1870, after her father's death, the family settled in Newport, Rhode Island. By that..
Richard G. Stern, in full Richard Gustave Stern, (born February 25, 1928, New York City, New York, U.S.--died January 24, 2013, Tybee Island, Georgia), American author and teacher whose fiction examines the intricacies of marital difficulties and family relationships.Stern was educated at the University of North Carolina (B.A., 1947), Harvard University (M.A., 1949), and the University of Iowa (Ph.D., 1954). In 1955 he began teaching writing and literature at the University of Chicago; he retired as professor emeritus in 2001. His novels, short-story collections, essays, and literary..
Robert McAlmon, in full Robert Menzies McAlmon, (born March 9, 1896, Clifton, Kan., U.S.--died Feb. 2, 1956, Desert Hot Springs, Calif.), American author and publisher and an exemplar of the literary expatriate in Paris during the 1920s. Many of his short stories, however, are based on his own youthful experiences living in small South Dakota towns.McAlmon attended the University of Minnesota for one semester before enlisting in the U.S. Air Corps in 1918. After World War I he attended the University of Southern California intermittently until 1920; then McAlmon moved to Chicago and soon..
I.J. Singer, in full Israel Joshua Singer, also spelled Yisroel Yeshue Zinger, Yisroel also spelled Yisroyel, (born Nov. 30, 1893, Bilgoraj, Pol.--died Feb. 10, 1944, New York, N.Y., U.S.), Polish-born writer of realistic historical novels in Yiddish.Singer's father was a rabbi who was a fervent Hasid, and his mother was from a distinguished Mitnagged family. Singer began writing tales of Hasidic life in 1915 and then worked as a newspaper correspondent in Warsaw during the 1920s and early '30s, publishing several collections of short stories during this time, including the short story..
M.F.K. Fisher, in full Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher, (born July 3, 1908, Albion, Mich., U.S.--died June 22, 1992, Glen Ellen, Calif.), American writer whose compelling style, wit, and interest in the gastronomical made her one of the major American writers on the subject of food. In her 15 celebrated books, Fisher created a new genre: the food essay. Seeing food as a cultural metaphor, she proved to be both an insightful philosopher of food and a writer of fine prose.Kennedy was reared in Whittier, California, and became accomplished in the kitchen. She married in 1929 and moved to Dijon, France,..
John Malcolm Brinnin, (born Sept. 13, 1916, Halifax, N.S., Can.--died June 26, 1998, Key West, Fla., U.S.), American biographer, critic, and poet. He is probably best known for having shepherded the boisterous Welsh poet Dylan Thomas through the United States on his speaking tours.At the age of four Brinnin moved with his American parents from Canada to Detroit, Michigan. He attended Wayne (later Wayne State) University, the University of Michigan (B.A., 1941), and Harvard University (1941-42). His first book of poems, The Garden Is Political, was published to considerable acclaim in 1942;..
Peter Taylor, in full Peter Hillsman Taylor, (born Jan. 8, 1917, Trenton, Tenn., U.S.--died Nov. 2, 1994, Charlottesville, Va.), American short-story writer, novelist, and playwright known for his portraits of Tennessee gentry caught in a changing society.From 1936 to 1937 Taylor attended Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, then the center of a Southern literary renaissance led by poets Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, and John Crowe Ransom. He transferred to Southwestern College in Memphis to study with Tate in 1937, then completed his B.A. in 1940 under Ransom at Kenyon College,..
Harriet E. Wilson, neeHarriet E. Adams, (born 1828?, Milford, N.H.?, U.S.--died 1863?, Boston, Mass.?), one of the first African Americans to publish a novel in English in the United States. Her work, entitled Our Nig; or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black, in a Two-Story White House, North. Showing That Slavery's Shadows Fall Even There. By "Our Nig." (1859), treated racism in the pre-Civil War North.Almost nothing is known of Wilson's personal history until 1850, when events depicted in Our Nig can be corroborated from public documents. The 1850 federal census taken in New Hampshire counted..
Ernest J. Gaines, in full Ernest James Gaines, (born January 15, 1933, Oscar, Louisiana, U.S.--died November 5, 2019, Oscar), American writer whose fiction, as exemplified by The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971) and A Lesson Before Dying (1993), reflects the African American experience and the oral tradition of his rural Louisiana childhood.When Gaines was 15, his family moved to California. He graduated from San Francisco State College (now San Francisco State University) in 1957 and attended graduate school at Stanford University. He taught or was writer-in-residence at several..
Charles Fuller, in full Charles H. Fuller, Jr., (born March 5, 1939, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.), American playwright who is best known for A Soldier's Play (first performed 1981), which won the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for drama.Fuller attended Villanova University (1956-58) and La Salle College (1965-67) and served in the U.S. Army from 1959 to 1962. In 1967 he cofounded the Afro-American Arts Theatre in Philadelphia, and he was codirector from 1967 to 1971. His play The Village: A Party (1968) is a drama of racial tensions among a community of racially mixed couples. During the 1970s he..
Joseph Dennie, (born Aug. 30, 1768, Boston, Mass. [U.S.]--died Jan. 7, 1812, Philadelphia, Pa.), essayist and editor who was a major literary figure in the United States in the early 19th century.Dennie graduated from Harvard College in 1790 and spent three years as a law clerk before being admitted to the bar in 1794. His practice failed to flourish, however, and in the meantime he had turned to writing. He and Royall Tyler formed a literary partnership under the pseudonyms Colon and Spondee, and together they began contributing satirical pieces to local newspapers. Between 1792 and 1802 Dennie..
Jerome Weidman, American author (born April 4, 1913, New York, N.Y.--died Oct. 6, 1998, New York), created novels, short stories, and plays in which he presented a harsh and unapologetic view of New York City. The son of Jewish immigrants, Weidman grew up in New York City on Manhattan's Lower East Side. After graduating from high school, he worked in the garment district, where he gathered material for his writing. His first story, written at the age of 17, appeared in the American Spectator. Weidman attended the City College of New York (1930-33) and Washington Square College (1933-34) of New..
Rose Terry Cooke, nee Rose Terry, (born Feb. 17, 1827, near Hartford, Conn., U.S.--died July 18, 1892, Pittsfield, Mass.), American poet and author, remembered chiefly for her stories that presaged the local-colour movement in American literature.Cooke was born of a well-to-do family. She graduated from the Hartford Female Seminary in 1843 and for some years thereafter taught school and was a governess in Burlington, New Jersey. From 1848 she devoted herself principally to writing. Her first published piece was a story in Graham's Magazine in 1845; the first of note was a poem, characteristically..
Helen Clark MacInnes, (born October 7, 1907, Glasgow, Scotland--died September 20, 1985, New York, New York, U.S.), Scottish-born American novelist, known for her taut, realistic espionage thrillers.MacInnes received an M.A. from the University of Glasgow in 1928 and remained at the university for a year afterward as a special cataloger in the library. After a year of library work she entered the School of Librarianship of University College, London, in 1930, graduating the following year. In 1932 she married Gilbert Highet. Over the next several years they collaborated on a number of translations..
Henry Roth, (born Feb. 8, 1906, Tysmenica, Galicia, Austria-Hungary [now in Ukraine]--died Oct. 13, 1995, Albuquerque, N.M., U.S.), American teacher, farmer, machinist, and sporadic author whose novel Call It Sleep (1934) was one of the neglected masterpieces of American literature in the 1930s.The son of Jewish immigrants, Roth graduated from the College of the City of New York in 1928 and held a variety of jobs thereafter. His novel Call It Sleep appeared in 1934 to laudatory reviews and sold 4,000 copies before it went out of print and was apparently forgotten. But in the late 1950s and '60s,..
Phyllis Ayame Whitney, (born Sept. 9, 1903, Yokohama, Japan--died Feb. 8, 2008, Faber, Va., U.S.), American author who wrote for both juvenile and adult audiences--largely mysteries and maturation stories for the former and romantic mysteries for the latter.Whitney's father was in business in Japan, and she grew up in the Far East. At the age of 15, Whitney and her widowed mother moved to the United States. In 1928 she sold her first story, and over the next several years she contributed to pulp magazines, juvenile magazines, and church publications. From 1942 to 1946 she edited the children's..
Larry Woiwode, in full Larry Alfred Woiwode, (born October 30, 1941, Carrington, North Dakota, U.S.), American writer whose semiautobiographical fiction reflects his early childhood in a tiny town on the western North Dakota plains, where five generations of his family had lived.Woiwode first published fiction while at the University of Illinois, which he attended from 1959 to 1964. His short stories and poetry later appeared in such magazines as Harper's, Partisan Review, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker. Beginning in 1965, The New Yorker gave a first reading to all his work, an arrangement..
Evan S. Connell, in full Evan Shelby Connell, Jr., (born August 17, 1924, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.--died January 10, 2013, Santa Fe, New Mexico), American writer whose works explore philosophical and cultural facets of the American experience.Connell attended Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, and the University of Kansas (A.B., 1947) and did graduate work at Stanford (California), Columbia (New York City), and San Francisco State universities. While working a series of mundane jobs, Connell devoted himself to writing. The stories in his first published work, the critically..
William H. Gass, in full William Howard Gass, (born July 30, 1924, Fargo, North Dakota, U.S.--died December 6, 2017, St. Louis, Missouri), American writer noted for his experimentation with stylistic devices.Gass called his fiction works "experimental constructions," and each of his books contains stylistic innovations. His first novel, Omensetter's Luck (1966), is about a man whose purity and good fortune are tainted when he is maliciously and falsely connected to a mysterious death. By piecing together various viewpoints, Gass creates levels of insight into character and setting;..
Metta Victoria Fuller Victor, nee Metta Victoria Fuller, (born March 2, 1831, Erie, Pa., U.S.--died June 26, 1885, Hohokus, N.J.), American writer of popular fiction who is remembered as the author of many impassioned works on social ills and of a number of "dime novels," including one of the country's first detective novels.Metta Fuller grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, and from 1839 in Wooster, Ohio. She and her elder sister Frances attended a Wooster female seminary and began contributing stories to local newspapers and then to the Home Journal of New York. In 1848 she and Frances moved to New..
James Crumley, in full James Arthur Crumley, (born Oct. 12, 1939, Three Rivers, Texas, U.S.--died Sept. 17, 2008, Missoula, Mont.), American writer of violent mystery novels whose vivid characterizations and sordid settings, amid the natural splendour of the western United States, transcend the conventions of the genre.Crumley was reared in Texas and attended Georgia Institute of Technology, Texas Arts and Industries University (B.A., 1964), and the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa (M.F.A., 1966). His U.S. Army service (1958-61) provided experiences for his Vietnam War..
Abby Morton Diaz, nee Abigail Morton, (born Nov. 22, 1821, Plymouth, Mass., U.S.--died April 1, 1904, Belmont, Mass.), American novelist and writer of children's literature whose popular and gently humorous work bespoke her belief in children's innate goodness.Abby Morton at an early age took an interest in reform. Among her early involvements was a juvenile antislavery society. From early 1843 until 1847 she lived and taught school at the experimental Brook Farm community, of which her father had been an original trustee. In 1845 she married Manuel A. Diaz of Havana, from whom she was separated..
Rosa Guy, nee Rosa Cuthbert, (born September 1, 1922, Trinidad, West Indies--died June 3, 2012, New York, New York, U.S.), American writer who drew on her own experiences to create fiction for young adults that usually concerned individual choice, family conflicts, poverty, and the realities of life in urban America and the West Indies.Cuthbert lived in Trinidad until 1932, when she moved to the United States to join her parents, who had already immigrated. She grew up in New York City's Harlem. At age 14, after both of her parents died, she was compelled to go to work in a factory, and in 1941 she..
Mary Henderson Eastman, nee Mary Henderson, (born 1818, Warrenton, Virginia, U.S.--died February 24, 1887, Washington, D.C.), 19th-century American writer whose work on Native Americans, though coloured by her time and circumstance, was drawn from personal experience of her subjects.In 1835 Mary Henderson, the granddaughter of Commodore Thomas Truxtun, a hero of the naval war with France, married Lieutenant Seth Eastman, an army officer then on the faculty at West Point who would become known for his illustrations and paintings of Native American life. Six years later she accompanied..
Delia Salter Bacon, (born Feb. 2, 1811, Tallmadge, Ohio, U.S.--died Sept. 2, 1859, Hartford, Conn.), American writer who developed the theory, still subscribed to by some, that Francis Bacon and others were the true authors of the works attributed to William Shakespeare.Bacon grew up in Tallmadge and in Hartford, Connecticut, where she attended Catharine E. Beecher's school for girls. After working as a teacher in various schools from 1826 to 1832, she tried and failed to establish her own schools. She then turned to writing--Tales of the Puritans (1831) and a play, The Bride of Fort Edward..
Fannie Pearson Hardy Eckstorm, nee Fannie Pearson Hardy, (born June 18, 1865, Brewer, Maine, U.S.--died Dec. 31, 1946, Brewer), American writer and ornithologist whose extensive personal knowledge of her native Maine informed her authoritative publications on the history, wildlife, cultures, and lore of the region.Fannie Hardy was the daughter of a well-known fur trader, outdoorsman, naturalist, and taxidermist, from whom she early absorbed a love and deep knowledge of the wilderness, wildlife, and Native Americans. She graduated in 1888 from Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts,..
James Alan McPherson, (born September 16, 1943, Savannah, Georgia, U.S.--died July 27, 2016, Iowa City, Iowa), American author whose realistic, character-driven short stories examine racial tension, the mysteries of love, the pain of isolation, and the contradictions of American life. Despite his coming of age as a writer during the Black Arts movement, his stories transcend issue-oriented politics. He was the first African American winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, for his second short-story collection, Elbow Room (1977).McPherson was educated at Morgan State University,..
Andre Dubus, (born Aug. 11, 1936, Lake Charles, La., U.S.--died Feb. 24, 1999, Haverhill, Mass.), American short-story writer and novelist who is noted as a chronicler of the struggles of contemporary American men whose lives seem inexplicably to have gone wrong.After graduating from McNeese State College (now University), Lake Charles (B.A., 1958), Dubus served six years in the U.S. Marine Corps and then took an M.F.A. degree from the University of Iowa in 1966. He taught literature and creative writing at Bradford (Massachusetts) College from 1966 to 1984 and served as a visiting instructor..
Philip K. Dick, in full Philip Kindred Dick, (born December 16, 1928, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.--died March 2, 1982, Santa Ana, California), American science-fiction writer whose novels and short stories often depict the psychological struggles of characters trapped in illusory environments.Dick worked briefly in radio before studying at the University of California, Berkeley, for one year. The publication of his first story, "Beyond Lies the Wub," in 1952 launched his full-time writing career, which was marked by extraordinary productivity, as he oftentimes completed a new work, usually..
Paule Marshall, original name Valenza Pauline Burke, (born April 9, 1929, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.--died August 12, 2019, Richmond, Virginia), American novelist whose works emphasized a need for black Americans to reclaim their African heritage.The Barbadian background of Burke's parents informed all of her work. She spent 1938-39 in her parents' home country and returned several times as a young adult. After graduating from Brooklyn College (1953), she worked briefly as a librarian before joining Our World, an African American magazine, where she worked from 1953 to 1956 as a food and..
R.L. Stine, in full Robert Lawrence Stine, (born October 8, 1943, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.), American novelist who was best known for his horror books for children, including the Goosebumps and Fear Street series.Stine graduated from the Ohio State University in 1965, having served three years as editor of the campus humour magazine, the Sundial. After teaching junior high school for a year, he went to New York City, where he eventually landed an editorial job with Scholastic Books. He worked there for 16 years on various children's magazines, notably Bananas, a humour magazine for older age groups...
Allan Nevins, (born May 20, 1890, Camp Point, Illinois, U.S.--died March 5, 1971, Menlo Park, California), American historian, author, and educator, known especially for his eight-volume history of the American Civil War and his biographies of American political and industrial figures. He also established the country's first oral history program.Nevins was raised on a farm in western Illinois and educated at the University of Illinois. While completing postgraduate studies there, he wrote his first book, The Life of Robert Rogers (1914), about the Colonial American frontier soldier..
E. Annie Proulx, in full Edna Annie Proulx, (born August 22, 1935, Norwich, Connecticut, U.S.), American writer whose darkly comic yet sad fiction is peopled with quirky, memorable individuals and unconventional families. Proulx traveled widely, extensively researching physical backgrounds and locales. She frequently used regional speech patterns, surprising and scathing language, and unusual plot twists in her novels and short stories about disintegrating families who maintain attachments to the land.Educated at the University of Vermont (B.A., 1969) and Sir George Williams..
Kay Boyle, (born February 19, 1902, St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.--died December 27, 1992, Mill Valley, California), American writer and political activist noted throughout her career as a keen and scrupulous student of the interior lives of characters in desperate situations.Boyle grew up mainly in Europe, where she was educated. Financial difficulties at the onset of World War I took the family back to the United States, to Cincinnati, Ohio. In June 1923 she married and soon moved with her husband to France. Shortly after settling there she began publishing poems and short stories regularly..
E.E. Smith, in full Edward Elmer Smith, also called Doc Smith, (born May 2, 1890, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, U.S.--died August 31, 1965, Seaside, Oregon), American science-fiction author who is credited with creating in the Skylark series (1928-65) and the Lensman series (1934-50) the subgenre of "space opera," action-adventure set on a vast intergalactic scale involving faster-than-light spaceships, powerful weapons, and fantastic technology.Smith received a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Idaho, Moscow, in 1914 and became a chemist at the U.S. Department..
Harriette Arnow, nee Harriette Louisa Simpson, (born July 7, 1908, Bronston, Ky., U.S.--died March 22, 1986, Ann Arbor, Mich.), American novelist, social historian, short-story writer, and essayist, known primarily for the novel The Dollmaker (1954), the story of a Kentucky hill family that moves north to Detroit during World War II. Arnow is an important writer who is often overlooked because of her regionalist approach to universal experience.One of six children, Arnow was born in rural Kentucky. After her sixth year her family lived primarily in the town of Burnside, although they spent..