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 poor Irish 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→


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→


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→


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→


Portrait of a Marriage: Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson

Portrait of a Marriage: Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson by Nigel Nicolson

Portrait of a Marriage: Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson by one of the couple’s sons, Nigel Nicolson, is  the story of an unusual marriage. Vita, a novelist and poet was known for her role in the Bloomsbury circle and her intense friendship with Virginia Woolf Harold was a  diplomat and scholar. Though neither admitted it to the other when they were courting and in the early days of their marriage, both were primarily attracted to members of their own sex.  Ultimately, they allowed one another the freedom to pursue other affairs during the course of their long marriage.

In Portrait of a Marriage, Nigel Nicolson publishes his mother’s memoir and adds his own commentary, which resulted from what he learned from his parents’ letters. Vita’s love affairs with a number of women (which resulted in much drama) and Harold’s discreet relationships with men didn’t hinder this  successful, loving marriage. Their son’s insightful Portrait of a Marriage shines a light on a fascinating couple. Read More→


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