Anne Brontë

Anne Bronte

Anne Brontë (January 17, 1820 – May 28, 1849) was a British author born in Thornton, West Yorkshire, the daughter of Patrick Brontë, a clergyman, and Maria Branwell. She followed in her older sisters’ paths (Charlotte and Emily Brontë) by delving into the literary world as a novelist and poet.

Along with her sisters and brother Branwell, Anne grew up in Haworth, an isolated town on the moors of Yorkshire. The siblings received little formal education and grew up in imaginative play, constructing a make-believe world called Angria and Gondal, putting on plays, and creating journals and magazines.

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Footnotes From the World’s Greatest Bookstores: 3 Women Writers’ Adventures

Footnotes from the World's Greatest Bookstores

Those who write love to read, and those who love to read, love bookstores with a passion. Bob Eckstein, the noted New Yorker cartoonist has created a unique and beautiful book, Footnotes From the World’s Greatest Bookstores: True Tales and Lost Moments from Book Buyers, Booksellers, and Book Lovers.

The 75 meticulously detailed paintings of fantastic bookstores by Eckstein feature some of the most charming and iconic bookstores around the world. The art is embellished with charming, bittersweet, and often humorous anecdotes by writers, thinkers, and dreamers who have visited them. Some of these bookstores have gone by the wayside, many, thankfully, are still open for business. Here, Bob shares the bookstore adventures of three contemporary women authors. Read More→

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The Literary Traditions of Self-Publishing

Peter Rabbit

As a way to avoid or recover from rejection, or simply to be entrepreneurs, writers have increasingly been turning to self-publishing. User-friendly print-on-demand or e-book services allow writers to create books on an as-needed basis, avoiding the pitfalls of overprinting, then having to store copious numbers of cartons of unsold books in the garage or under the bed.

Whether the product ends up only in the hands of the author’s mom and cousins or becomes one of the rare successes that sells like wildfire, it’s good to have options. The ultimate stroke of luck for a self-published book is being picked up by a trade publisher, then continuing to sell like crazy. Read More→

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The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O’ Connor (1960)

The Violent Bear it Away by Flannery O'Connor (1960) cover

Excerpted from review of  The Violent Bear it Away by Flannery O’Connor in The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Missouri), March, 1960:  Flannery O’Connor, a comparatively young Southern woman, writes with such skill and control that to praise her novel to excess would come easily and willingly.

Suffice it to say that The Violent Bear It Away is the best of her three books and that a comparison between this neo-Gothic tale and the novels written by William Faulkner at the height of his literary powers, could in no way harm Miss O’Connor. This surely will be remembered as one of the most important works of fiction of the present year.

Miss O’ Connor deals with four characters, two boys and two men, in a short span of time and space, Much of the action takes place near a small town, Powerhead, Tennessee, and in a larger city, perhaps Memphis or Chattanooga. The time is the present. Read More→

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Why am I afraid to take risks with my writing?

madeleine L'engle

Dear Literary Ladies,
I want to go in a new direction with my writing. But I’m afraid I’ll fail and feel foolish. Can you give me any encouragement that will help me take some risks with my work and get out of my comfort zone?

Risk is essential. It’s scary. Every time I sit down and start the first page of a novel I am risking failure. We are encouraged in this world not to fail. College students are often encouraged to take the courses they are going to get A’s in so that they can get that nice grant to graduate school. And they are discouraged from taking the courses they may not get a good grade in but which fascinates them nevertheless. I think that is a bad thing that the world has done to us. Read More→

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How Mary Mapes Dodge Came to Write Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates

Hans Brinker

Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge (1865) is the classic tale of Hans and his sister Gretel (not to be confused with Hansel and Gretel). It takes place in Holland, and though the author created a lovely picture of Dutch life in the early 19th century, she never visited the country until well after the book’s publication.

In the 1946 edition, the Brinker children’s parents are described as a “gallant mother and strange, silent father.” The latter’s condition, as it turns out, is due to a head injury sustained The family is relatable and timeless because they “are very real people with ambitions, hopes and problems that the young reader shares as he or she reads their story. The Brinkers are very poor, but during one eventful winter many wonderful things happen to them.” 

The story centers on a period in which the family’s luck turns: “The grand race, the silver skates, the missing thousand guilders — these factors all play their parts in bringing happiness to the little family.” Filled with youthful ambition and honor, the story is also believed to have introduced the idea of the sport of speed skating to American readers. Read More→

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