Author biography

Out of This Century: Peggy Guggenheim, Art & Literature 

Peggy Guggenheim (August 26, 1898 – December 23, 1979) was an American art collector, writer, and socialite. She was known for her extensive contemporary art collection, which spanned the range of Surrealism, Cubism, and abstract expressionism, and for her patronage of dozens of artists.

She was also a passionate supporter of writers and literature. Close literary friends included Djuna Barnes, Mary McCarthy, Antonia White, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and Emma Goldman, many of whom she supported financially. Her autobiography, Out of This Century, is an incisive and witty account of her life.  

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J. California Cooper, a Unique Voice in Three Genres

J. California Cooper (November 10, 1931 – September 20, 2014) author of plays, novels, and short stories, was admired for her unique voice in all three genres.

Warmth, pathos, and humor blended with pain are her trademarks. Her seven collections of short stories feature the use of dialogue and vernacular, and an unwavering commitment to portraying a diverse array of Black female characters. Read More→


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Samira Azzam, Journalist, Broadcaster, and Short Story Writer

Samira Azzam (September 13, 1927 – August 8, 1967) was a journalist and broadcaster who left her mark on Palestinian literature. Her numerous short stories reflected the Palestinian experience of the 1950s and 1960s.

She was born in Acre (in what was then the Palestinian Mandate and today is Israel). Acre is located on the Mediterranean coast, often known locally as Akko.

Had she lived today, she might have been a social media influencer, as she started writing reviews and essays for the newspaper Filistin, signing them “A Girl from the Coast” while still a teen. Azzam was apparently a dedicated student: she became a teacher at the age of sixteen. Read More→


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Alice Childress, Author of Trouble in Mind

Playwright and novelist Alice Childress (October 12, 1916 – August 14, 1994) was a prolific and influential contributor to American theater and letters throughout the second half of the twentieth century. Her first full-length play, Trouble in Mindpremiered in 1955 and won an Obie.

Another play, Wedding Band, was shown on network television in 1974 (though network affiliates in several southern states refused to carry it).  

None of this would have mattered to Childress who said, “I never was ever interested in being the first woman to do anything. I always felt that I should be the 50th or the 100th. Women were kept out of everything.”

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Helene Hanff – Author of 84, Charing Cross Road

Helene Hanff (April 15, 1916 – April 9, 1997) was an American author and playwright. She is best known for her book 84, Charing Cross Road, an endearing collection of her twenty-year correspondence with the owner of the London antiquarian bookshop, Marks & Co., on the eponymous street.

This book was written at a low point in her career, but later went on to gain a cult following and to be adapted for film and stage.

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