The Literary Magic of the Mary Poppins Books by P.L.Travers

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

Mary Poppins, one of the best-loved characters in children’s literature, came from a story that its author, P.L. (Pamela Lyndon) Travers made up while minding two young children.

Mary Poppins, the first book in the series, was published in 1934 to instant success and launched a series starring the magical nanny as the central character. In it, she’s blown to Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane, London by the East wind, and becomes part of the Banks family’s household.

There she takes charge of the children, changing their lives and that of their parents. The books, all illustrated by Mary Shepard, have been a mainstay of classic children’s literature from the time of their publication. Read More→


Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O'Connor

Flannery O’Connor (March 25, 1925 – August 3, 1964) was born Mary Flannery O’Connor in Savannah, Georgia. She became best known for her short stories, morally driven narratives populated with flawed characters sometimes described as grotesque.

O’Connor was viewed as a bit different by her fellow townspeople in Milledgeville, Georgia. She stood somewhat apart from the itinerant farm workers and country folk, becoming something of an observer. There was nothing she wanted to do other than write.

You may notice that some of her book covers feature peacocks; that’s a nod to her raising of the beautiful birds in her youth on her family’s farm. 
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Quotes from Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Louise Fitzhugh (1928 – 1974 hailed from Memphis, Tennessee. She had a varied education, studying art in Italy and France as well as New York City, where she took courses at the Art Students League and at Cooper Union.  It may not be surprising that she studied child psychology, art, and literature, as these seem to entwine in the books she produced.

It was Harriet the Sp (1964) that put her on the literary map and cemented her legacy. A brief description from the 1964 HarperCollins edition:

“Harriet is determined to grow up to be Harriet M. Welsch, the famous writer; and in order to get a head start on her career, she spends part of every day on her spy route “observing” and noting down, in her singular, caustic, comic way, everything of interest to her. Read More→


Get Your Words Into the World

Get your words into the world cover

Literary Ladies Guide is pleased to announce the publication of Get Your Words Into the World: Comparing and Navigating Today’s Publishing Options, From Traditional to Self-Publishing and Everything in Between. This concise guide will help you sort out what path might be best for you and presents lots of free resources and links, whether you’re looking for an agent, thinking of being an “indie author,” or tempted to try short-run printing.

You’ll find plenty of “how to write a book” books, plus plenty of advice on websites. There’s also tons of advice on marketing your book once it’s produced. This book tackles the in-between part — navigating the various publishing options available in today’s ever-changing publishing landscape. Read More→


10 Poems by Phillis Wheatley from Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773)

When Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral by Phillis Wheatley was published in 1773, it marked several significant accomplishments. It was the first book by a slave to be published in the Colonies, and only the third book by a woman in the American colonies to be published.

Phillis (not her original name) was brought to the North America in 1761 as part of the slave trade. She was bought from the slave market by John Wheatley of Boston, who gave her as a personal servant to his wife, Susanna. She was given the surname of the family, as was customary at the time. Read More→


Anaïs Nin

Anais Nin

Anaïs Nin (February 21, 1903 – January 14, 1977) embodied the practice of writing as a grand passion and a path to delving deeply into the self. In this sense, she foreshadowed the immediacy of today’s world of self-revelatory memoir. She was a splendid and prolific essayist as well.

Best known for her multi-volume series, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, she wrote these journals over the span of more than thirty years (not including her Early Diaries series).

Born in France, her full original name was Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell. Her father, Joaquin Nin, a composer, deserted the family when Anaïs was about 11 years old. He and her mother, Rosa Culmell y Vigaraud, were of Cuban descent with traces of French, Spanish, and Danish ancestry. Read More→


Becoming Virginia Woolf: How Leonard Woolf Wooed Virginia Stephen

leonard and virginia woolf - 1912

Virginia Stephen first met Leonard Woolf while visiting her brother Thoby at Trinity College at Cambridge in 1900. She wore a white dress and carried a parasol, looking like “the most Victorian of Victorian young ladies,” as Leonard described her.

Leonard and Virginia Woolf, as she would later be known, were destined to be together, though it took considerable persistence and many proposals on his part before she agreed to marry him.

According to The American Reader, “Virginia and her elder sister, Vanessa, were described by Leonard Woolf as ‘young women of astonishing beauty …. It was almost impossible for a man not to fall in love with them.’” Brilliant as well as exquisitely beautiful, Virginia attracted many admirers, both male and female. Read More→


Eudora Welty

eudora welty

Eudora Welty (April 13, 1909 – July 23, 2001) was an American author whose work spanned several genres — novels, short stories, and memoir. 

Much of her writing focused on realistic human relationships — conflict, community,  interaction, and influence. As a Southern writer, a sense of place was an important theme running though her work.

Welty grew up in a close-knit, contented family in Jackson, Mississippi. Her parents instilled a love of education, curiosity, and reading to her and to her brothers, with whom she was close. Read More→


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