“The suspense of a novel is not only in the reader, but in the novelist, who is intensely curious about what will happen to the hero.” – Mary McCarthy
Born on this date in 1912, McCarthy was orphaned at age 6 when her parents both died in the great flu epidemic that swept the world right after World War I. After living in fairly harsh conditions for several years, and separated from her siblings, she was finally taken in by her maternal grandparents who raised her to adulthood and also helped shape her views on politics and writing.
As an adult she not only became a renowned writer and teacher but also a political activist, particularly as an opponent of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Her most acclaimed works were The Company She Keeps and The Group, the latter on the New York Times Bestseller List for over 2 years. Over the years she authored over two dozen books and won numerous awards including the National Medal for Literature.
As a professor at several prestigious colleges and universities, she said she often told students not to be afraid to include elements of one’s own life in the words that you share. “We all live in suspense from day to day; in other words, you are the hero of your own story.”
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