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Monday, February 6, 2017

Creating lives that 'live forever'

“Most books, like their authors, are born to die.  Of only a few books can it be said that death has no dominion over them; they live, and their influence lives forever.” – William Styron

Over the period of four decades, Styron wrote 4 books that “fit” into his above description.  While he is perhaps best known for 1979’s Sophie’s Choice, which also won multiple Academy Awards as a movie, his influential writings live on through his 1951 first novel Lie Down in Darkness; his 1967 Pulitzer Prize-winning The Confessions of Nat Turner; and his 1990 memoir Darkness Visible.

Born in Virginia in 1925, Styron jumped into writing as an undergraduate student at Duke – while simultaneously working toward a commission in the U.S. Marines during the war years.    World War II ended before his graduation, and his entry into the military was put on hold until Korea.  Meanwhile, he worked as an editor at McGraw-Hill and wrote his highly acclaimed and award winning first novel.

Also a noted essayist, short story writer, and playwright, Styron was awarded the St. Louis Literary Award and France’s Cino Del Duca World Prize, recognizing an author whose work constitutes, in a scientific or literary form, a message of modern humanism.
“A great book should leave you with many experiences,                    
and slightly exhausted,” Styron said.   “You should live several lives while reading it.”

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