Literary Musings

10 Fascinating Facts About Louisa May Alcott, Author of Little Women

Louisa May Alcott (1832 – 1888) may be best known as the author of Little Women and its sequels, but there was more to her than these genteel (yet gently subversive) domestic tales. The fascinating facts about Louisa May Alcott that follow might surprise those who don’t know a lot about the woman behind Little Women.

From her teen years on, Louisa was determined to make a living as a writer. She became the Alcott family’s primary breadwinner at a young age, mostly by writing and selling anonymous thrillers, or what she called “blood and thunder” tales.

And from there her writing life unfolded, often in unexpected ways. She was a complex woman whose views were reflected in her literary output.  Read More→


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10 Interesting Facts about the Brontë Sisters

It would be easy enough to compile interesting facts about the Brontë sisters each in her own right, but here we’ll look at the three together, since their lives were so intertwined. CharlotteEmily, and Anne Brontë, acknowledged literary geniuses, were close in age and with few exceptions, preferred one another’s company above anyone else’s.

The three Brontë sisters all cherished literary ambitions from an early age, and despite lives that were cut short by illness, secured a prominent place in the English literary canon.

The children of Maria Branwell Brontë and Reverend Patrick Brontë, the sisters were born in the West Yorkshire village of Thornton, England. They subsequently moved to Haworth, where they grew up along with their brother Branwell. Their mother died while the children were still very young, and their aunt Branwell moved in to help take care of them. Read More→


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10 Fascinating Facts About Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize Winner

Toni Morrison, born Chloe Ardelia Wofford (1931 – 2019), was an American novelist, editor, essayist,  and professor. Widely remembered for her work and achievements, there’s much more about her eventful life that many readers may not be aware of. We’ll explore 10 fascinating facts about Toni Morrison that may give you a glimpse at what shaped her to become the woman and writer that we’ve come to know and love. 

She was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio, in a working-class African-American family that influenced her love and passion for black culture as she grew up hearing folktales, songs, and storytelling. 

Her work spoke to many as it was focused on the black American experience and the struggles that they face. After the creation of the notable works including The Bluest Eye (1970), Sula (1974), Song of Solomon (1977), Tar Baby (1981),  and Beloved (1987), she received an abundance of awards, including the Nobel Prize in Literature (1993), the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and many more.  Read More→


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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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