Christina Stead

Christina Stead

Christina Stead (July 17, 1902 – March 31, 1983) was a novelist and short story writer who was born in Australia into a Marxist family. Her mother died when she was only two years old. When she was old enough, she became the main caretaker of the family while her father worked. Stead went to college and after, worked as a teacher and secretary.

She moved to London at age 26, where she fell in love with an American banker, William Blake. They traveled around Europe and finally ended up in the United States. In the 1940s, Stead took a job as a screenwriter and as a teacher at NYU. Stead and Blake returned to Europe and both wrote articles and did editing to earn money. Read More→

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6 Interesting Facts About Ann Petry, Author of The Street

Ann Petry

Ann Petry (1908 – 1997) is best known for being the first African-American woman to produce a book whose sales would top a million copies. The Street ultimately sold a million and a half copies. A gritty story of a single mother raising a son in Harlem, it brought its author much praise and a little notoriety.

Here are 6 interesting facts about Ann Petry, an classic American author who deserves to be more widely read. Read More→

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The Four Difficulties of Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande

Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande

The Four Difficuties of Becoming A Writer is a segment excerpted from Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande (1934), proving that good writing advice is timeless:  

There is a sort of writer’s magic. There is a procedure which many an author has come upon by happy accident or has worked out for himself which can, in part, be taught. To be ready to learn it you will have to go by a rather roundabout way, first considering the main difficulties which you will meet, then embarking on simple, but stringently self-enforced exercises to overcome those difficulties. Last of all you must have faith, or the curiosity, to take one odd piece of advice which will be unlike any of the exhortations that have come your way in classrooms or in textbooks.

Read More→

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Miles Franklin: “Brent of Bin Bin,” My Career Goes Bung, and More

My career goes bung by Miles Franklin

Miles Franklin (1879 – 1954) is best known for her first novel, My Brilliant Career. Published in 1901, when the author was just 21, it’s a semi-autobiographical story of a teenage girl growing up in the Australian bush who longs to break free as her own person. Just after the novel’s publication and early success she wrote only sporadically, having become involved in World War I efforts and the woman suffrage cause.

During this period, she wrote a sequel to My Brilliant Career titled My Career Goes Bung, finishing it around 1915 –1916. But it proved too far ahead of its time and wasn’t published until some decades later. Read More→

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How can I develop a distinctive writing style?

Katherine Anne Porter

Dear Literary Ladies,
How do I go about developing a distinctive writing style—one that will blow editors away, and that readers everywhere will recognize as my unique voice?

I simply don’t believe in style. The style is you. Oh, you can cultivate a style, I suppose, if you like. But I should say it remains a cultivated style. It remains artificial and imposed, and I don’t think it deceives anyone. A cultivated style would be like a mask. Read More→

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Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir

Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir

Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir (1959) is the first of a multi-part autobiography series by a great intellectual and literary figures of the twentieth century. It depicts her early years growing up in a bourgeois French family, her adolescent rebellion against the convention and religious doctrine, and college education at the Sorbonne. Toward the end of this memoir, she strikes out as part of an intellectual set in Paris in the 1920s, and cements her lifelong open relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre.

Simone de Beauvoir’s friendships, early lovers, teachers, and mentors come to life in this vivid portrait of a fascinating and brilliant women. It begins like this: Read More→

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