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Why Donald Hall Only Gets Wiser with Age

By Matt Reimann. Sep 20, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Pulitzer Prize

A few years ago, writer and poet Donald Hall was awarded the National Medal of Arts for his lifetime of work. Aside from the respectful tribute, some in the media gawked at just how old the octogenarian writer looked. He came to the platform with bushy eyebrows, an unkempt beard, and stood in a few unflattering snapshots beside President Obama. He was subject to such ridicule as the nickname “yeti,” as well as a “photo caption contest” in the comments below. All this for a former poet laureate of the United States.

     
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The Big Apple: Four New York City Writers You Should Be Reading

By Nick Ostdick. Jul 27, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Pulitzer Prize, Literary travel

In the pantheon of American arts and letters, few cities loom larger than New York City. The center of American publishing since the earliest days of the enterprise, New York City has, at one time or another, played host to a number of the country’s most daring, innovative, and influential authors. Entire literary scenes and schools have emerged, developed, and faded in the city’s numerous boroughs. Some of the most infamous relationships between writers have been forged in the city’s storied cafes and bars. It’s the one place in America where the literati congregate: where the aspiring bring their stories to see if the world is ready to listen.

With such a rich tradition of the written word, it’s would be easy to celebrate the authors who journeyed to NYC to stake their claim as the best writers in America. John Cheever. John Updike. J.D. Salinger. These are the names that spring to mind when you think of NYC as hallowed halls for great American authors.

     
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In Praise of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian

By Matt Reimann. Jul 20, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Pulitzer Prize, American Literature

In recent years, a string of successful film adaptations has brought the work of Cormac McCarthy into a wide, national spotlight. But to many of his dedicated readers, the crowning achievement of the author’s fifty-year career is his 1985 novel, Blood Meridian. The story concerns a band of Indian scalpers, circa 1850, and their campaign along the Mexican-American border. The novel’s vision, severely violent and infernal, has put many readers off, but galvanized all the more.

     
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Five Interesting Facts About William Styron

By Leah Dobrinska. Jun 11, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Pulitzer Prize, American Literature

William Styron was born on May 11, 1925. An acclaimed American novelist and essayist well known for his works Sophie’s Choice (1979) and The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967), Styron led a noteworthy life. He attended both Davidson College and Duke University, spent time abroad, and returned to the United States where he lived with his wife of over 50 years until his death in 2006. Here are five interesting facts that you may not know about William Styron.

     
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Happy Birthday, Larry McMurtry!

By Katharina Koch. Jun 3, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Pulitzer Prize, Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

June 3 is a great opportunity to celebrate Larry McMurtry and to tell a story about our visit to his hometown of Archer City late last year. Born on this day in 1936, McMurtry is the author of thirty-two novels and just as many screenplays, in addition to a handful of memoirs and essay collections. McMurtry is most known for his novel Lonesome Dove, which won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was adapted into a television series that won seven Emmy Awards. Many of his novelsincluding The Evening Star, The Last Picture Show, Texasville, Terms of Endearment, and Horseman, Pass By were adapted into films that won a total of ten Academy Awards. Notably, McMurtry also co-wrote the screenplay for the Oscar-winning Brokeback Mountain .      
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John Patrick: Workaholic of the Stage and Screen

By Matt Reimann. May 17, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Pulitzer Prize, American Literature, Drama

One evening, John Patrick revved his chainsaw on the president of a power company’s lawn. The playwright wanted to run an extra power line to his new farm in New York state. Having received nothing but a string of empty promises, Patrick decided to take matters into his own hands. So he threatened to cut down the executive’s elm tree unless his concerns were properly addressed. The playwright knew a little about getting what he wanted—he had a Pulitzer Prize, after all.

     
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The Enduring Relevance of The Grapes of Wrath

By Brian Hoey. May 6, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Pulitzer Prize, Nobel Prize Winners

Since its publication in 1939, John Steinbeck’s magnum opus The Grapes of Wrath has been one of the most read, most studied, and most talked about works of American literature. The novel earned Steinbeck a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize in addition to being cited by the committee that awarded him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962. Indeed, Steinbeck’s depiction of the Joad family’s journey across Dust Bowl era America has been adapted for both stage and screen, in addition to being marked indelibly into the American imagination, finding new relevance with each passing generation.

     
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5 Contemporary Poets You Should Be Reading Right Now

By Nick Ostdick. Apr 29, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Pulitzer Prize, Literature

“If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry...Is there any other way?”

That’s Emily Dickinson in the late 1870s talking about how she defines that inexplicable moment when a poem moves youwhen a piece of poetry elicits an emotional, non-rational, sometimes transcendent response as you subconsciously identify with an image, a moment, a phrase, a scene. It’s an experience that’s often difficult to intellectualize and describe, and sadly, one that many casual readers can’t easily access as poetry is pushed more and more to the fringes of contemporary publishing, relegating it to near niche status.

     
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Revisiting the Good (and Bad) Aspects of Go Set a Watchman's Release

In February, the New York Post discovered Harper Lee had been keeping a Manhattan apartment for ten years. She renewed the lease on the enviable, $900-per-month Upper East Side dwelling just a few months prior to her death. Her neighbors remembered her fondly, noting her love of Sunday crosswords. The local butcher too recalled her kind requests for select cuts of meat. Lee had not visited the apartment since her stroke in 2007, but it is remarkable how this secret had been preserved until the very end. Especially when one considers the public appetite for all things Harper Lee.

     
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Eight Short Story Writers You Should Be Reading Right Now

By Nick Ostdick. Jan 20, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Pulitzer Prize, Literature

Nobody cares about literature anymore. That’s the death-cry heard time and time again about the state of 21st Century reading. Sure, studies and surveys continually show the ways in which today’s average reader experiences literature are changing, from e-readers, smart phones, and tablets, to podcasts and other subscription-based audio book websites and services. 

These advancements are designed to help readers immerse themselves into fictional characters and worlds with more ease and expediency as the pace and rigors of everyday life in today’s society make it more and more difficult to pull-back from reality and allow our imaginations to explore and expand. But even with these time-saving gizmos, a large percentage of the population still cannot dedicate the time and energy to a 200 page novel at the end of a 9 to 5 workday that includes commuting, chores, and family time. The solution? The short story.

     
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