“Writers, not psychiatrists, are the true interpreters of the human mind and heart, and we have been at it for a very long time.” – Florence King
Born on this date in 1936, Florence Virginia King was a longtime essayist and columnist mostly featured in The National Review, where her column “The Misanthrope’s Corner” not only served up a smorgasbord of curmudgeonly critiques but also earned her the title “The Queen of Mean.”
King grew up in the District of Columbia where she earned a degree in history from American University before starting her journalism career, winning the North Carolina Press Woman Award for Reporting at Raleigh News and Observer before taking her job at The National Review.
She also wrote a couple of romance novels and penned Southern Ladies and Gentlemen, a humorous "Guide to the South for Yankees” before authoring her most popular book, Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady. That semi-autobiographical work focused on, among other things, her grandmother's, mother's, and father's construct of what it meant to “be a lady.”
For great examples of King’s acerbic, humorous writing check out the book STET, Damnit! the National Review’s 2002 tribute to King and her long career at the magazine. King, who died in 2016, advised young writers to write clearly, succinctly and with purpose. “Writers who have nothing to say,” she noted, “always strain for metaphors to say it in.”
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