Sylvia Townsend Warner (December 6, 1893 – May 1, 1978) was an English novelist, poet, and musicologist. Best known for her novels Lolly Willowes and The Corner That Held Them, she was also a prolific writer of short stories and contributed to The New Yorker for over forty years.
Despite a revival of her work in the 1970s, led by feminist publisher Virago Press, she is still an under-appreciated figure in literature and is probably just as well known for her long-term lesbian relationship with Valentine Ackland. Read More→
Lucille Clifton (June 26, 1936 – February 13, 2010) was a prolific American poet, teacher, and children’s book author. Clifton’s work focused on issues of race, family affairs, and gender through the lens of the African-American experience.
Clifton’s poetry was first published by Langston Hughes, who included it in his impactful anthology, The Poetry of the Negro (1746-1970). Read More→
Margaret Walker (July 15, 1915 – November 30, 1998) was an American poet and novelist. She is recognized today as one of the foremost African-American female writers of her generation. In addition to her acclaimed novel, Jubilee (1966), she wrote several volumes of poetry.
Walker participated in the literary movement known as the Chicago Black Renaissance, and was a long-time friend of novelist and poet Richard Wright.
Walker was a university professor from the 1940s through the 1970s, and she held positions at colleges in North Carolina, West Virginia and Mississippi. She received six honorary degrees and was inducted into the African American Literary Hall of Fame in October 1998. Read More→
Eleanor H. Porter (December 19, 1868 – May 21, 1920) was best known as the author of Pollyanna, the children’s novel that took America by storm during the World War I years.
Most people today won’t know the name of the author of this classic, but many still understand what it means to be called a “Pollyanna.” According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, it’s “a person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything.”
Pollyanna was published in 1913, on the eve of World War I — it would hardly seem the time for the story of a girl who could see the bright side of just about any situation, no matter how dire. But somehow the book struck a nerve and was an immediate hit with children as well as adults, and its popularity endured throughout those years. Read More→
Elizabeth Bowen (June 7, 1899 – February 22, 1973) was an Irish-British novelist and short-story writer best known for fictional works that focused on life in wartime London and relationships among the upper-middle class.
Some have referred to her as the “grande dame” of the modern novel, her work characterized by a conscious, concise style.
Bowen’s work reflects her great interest in “life with the lid on and what happens when the lid comes off.” It examines the innocence of orderly life and irrepressible forces that transforms one’s experience. In her stories and novels, she examines the betrayal and secrets beneath the veneer of respectability.