Literary Musings

Turning Twelve: Making Room to Grow in The Long Secret by Louise Fitzhugh

“What in the world has happened to Beth Ellen?” Harriet wonders, just a few pages from the end of Louise Fitzhugh’s classic 1964 novel, Harriet the Spy. Harriet is still eleven years old and she sometimes still calls her friend ‘Mouse,’ but Beth Ellen comes into her own as a character in the 1965 novel, The Long Secret.

The Toronto Public Library has eighty-two copies of Harriet the Spy (1964) but only six copies of what was billed as the “Further Adventures of Harriet the Spy” — The Long Secret by Louise Fitzhugh, which was published the following year, and only two copies of Sport (1979). Read More→


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Playing Town: Revisiting Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy

Marcie McCauley reflects on revisiting Harriet the Spy, the 1964 classic by Louise Fitzhugh, and how the story continues to resonate and inspire her as a working writer.

See, first you take off your coat and hang it on the back of a library chair, use it to mark a comfortable seat as your place to return to with a stack of books. Then you fetch the ones you remember most fondly. You can’t have too many at one time or the librarians are annoyed. I usually have ten.* Read More→


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Keeper: Emily Brontë’s Fiercely Devoted Dog

Though Emily Brontë (1818 – 1848) only lived to the age of thirty, she produced one of the most iconic novels in the English literary canon. Wuthering Heights is a decidedly dark study of romantic obsession that takes a rather dim view of human nature.

The sister of Charlotte and Anne Brontë, Emily was beyond introverted. She didn’t care for company outside of her immediate family, and any time she ventured from her beloved Yorkshire moors, she became sick with longing to return. Emily Brontë’s dog Keeper, a large and rather menacing dog, was among the most faithful companions of her adult life. Read More→


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The Enduring Power of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide by Ntozake Shange

“Through my tears I found god in myself and I loved her fiercely” is perhaps the most iconic quote from For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf  by Ntozake Shange (1948 – 2018). For Colored Girls has touched many hearts since it premiered in 1976. The 2019 production of For Colored Girls  at SUNY New Paltz was one such powerful and emotional presentation of Shange’s play.

For Colored Girls was Shange’s first work and remains her most acclaimed theatre piece, consisting of twenty captivating poetic monologues representing black sisterhood in a racist and sexist society. Shange describes her work as choreopoem, a form of dramatic expression incorporating poetry, dance, music, and song. This term was coined in 1975 by Shange herself to describe this work. Read More→


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Fascinating Facts About Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston (January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960), was an African-American novelist, memoirist, and folklorist. Zora was a natural storyteller. As she grew up, she had listened to the stories of people she encountered. Her love of story would lead her not only to create her own, but to collect stories from the oral traditions of the African-American South and the Black cultures of the Caribbean.

With her determined intelligence and humor, she quickly became a big name in the Harlem Renaissance movement of the 1920s. She had a dual career as a writer (producing novels, short stories, plays, and essays) and as an anthropologist. Read More→


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