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Tag: In Memoriam (1-10 of 64)

Nobel Prize-winning South African author Nadine Gordimer dies at 90

Nadine Gordimer, a South African writer whose work criticized her country’s apartheid and won her the Nobel Prize in Literature, has died. She was 90.

Born in South Africa in 1923, Gordimer published her first novel, The Lying Days, in 1953. But her preferred form was the short story. The New Yorker published her story A Watcher of the Dead in 1951, bringing her work to an international audience, and she eventually published 22 short-story collections over her lifetime as well as 15 novels and numerous plays and essay collections.

Under apartheid, three of Gordimer’s books were banned for their political content. Those three books—The ConservationistBurger’s Daughter, and July’s People—went on to become her most celebrated, and are considered essential in postcolonial literature. Gordimer identified South African readership as politically inclined. “In the recognition that the encouragement of literature is part of liberation, trade unions and community groups among the black majority have set up libraries and cultural debate.”

When Gordimer won the Nobel Prize in 1991, she spoke about how writing is a way of understanding the relationship between people and the world, and that political ideas play a part. “We spend our lives attempting to interpret through the word the readings we take in the societies, the world of which we are part,” she said. “It is in this sense, this inextricable, ineffable participation, that writing is always and at once an exploration of self and of the world; of individual and collective being.”

 

'Where's Spot?' creator Eric Hill dies at 86

Eric Hill, the author and illustrator of a beloved series of children’s books featuring Spot the Dog, has died. He was 86.

Born on September 7th, 1927 in London, Hill began his career as a teenager, working as an errand boy for an illustration studio while drawing comics in his spare time. By 1976, he invented the character Spot the Dog for his son, Christopher. In 1980, the first Spot book — Where’s Spot? — was published. The book included a lift-the-flap concept, which Hill modeled after a flyer he worked on as a freelance advertising designer.

Spot topped bestseller lists within weeks, and Hill followed up his initial success with Spot’s Birthday Party, Spot Goes to the Farm, and Spot Loves His Friends. Altogether, the books have sold over 60 million copies around the world and have been translated into 60 languages. Various animated television series based on the book’s characters were launched between 1986 and 2000. READ FULL STORY

Writer Susan Spencer-Wendel dies at 47

Writer Susan Spencer-Wendel has died at the age of 47 at her West Palm Beach, Florida, home, The Associated Press reports.

Five years ago, the writer was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerorsis, a neurodegenerative disease commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, when she was reporting at The Palm Beach Post. In response to the diagnosis, Spencer-Wendel went traveling with her family, vowing to enjoy the time she had left. Those journeys turned into the memoir Until I Say Good-bye. READ FULL STORY

Maya Angelou: Saying goodbye to a literary giant

Maya Angelou — the trailblazing and award-winning poet and memoirist — has died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina at the age of 86. Her son Guy  B. Johnson, who survives her along with several grandchildren, said in a statement, “Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension. She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.”

She was born Marguerite Ann Johnson (her nickname, “Maya,” was bestowed by her older brother) on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis. After her parents split when she was 3, Angelou was sent to live with her paternal grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. It was when she returned to her mother and St. Louis a few years later that a series of traumas began: at the age of 8, she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. She went to her older brother, who alerted the rest of the family. The man was arrested and convicted, though he was murdered before serving any time in jail. Angelou assumed that he had been killed by her uncles, and the young girl didn’t speak for years afterwards. “I thought, my voice killed him; I killed that man, because I told his name,” she wrote in 1969’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing. READ FULL STORY

Maya Angelou, celebrated author and poet, dies at 86

Maya Angelou, the Presidential Medal of Freedom-winning writer whose storied, prolific career stretched over five decades, has died at the age of 86. Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines confirmed the author’s death Wednesday morning, according to local North Carolina news station Fox 8.

Angelou was born in St. Louis, Mo., in 1928. Her tragic childhood — she was sexually assaulted at the age of eight by her mother’s boyfriend, who was later murdered after she testified against him, and as a result of the trauma Angelou didn’t speak for nearly a decade — is chronicled in Angelou’s work, most notably her 1969 autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Angelou wrote six additional autobiographies, as well as plays, screenplays, numerous speeches, and countless poems, including “On the Pulse of Morning,” which Angelou recited at President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration in 1993.

A full obituary of Angelou is in the works. In the meantime, take note of the poet’s final message, posted to her Twitter account May 23 — they’re appropriately evocative last words: READ FULL STORY

Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87

Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez has passed away at the age of 87, according to the Associated Press. García Márquez was recently hospitalized for an infection in Mexico City, and on Wednesday, April 9, he was released to convalesce at his home. The Colombian-born author and journalist is considered one of the most important writers of the 20th century. In his lifetime, he published six novels and seven nonfiction books, as well as numerous novellas and short story collections. His work transcended Spanish-language literature to become internationally beloved.

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'Fatal Vision' author Joe McGinniss dies at age 71

Joe McGinniss wasn’t one to let a story tell itself.

Whether insisting on the guilt of a murder suspect after seemingly befriending him or moving next door to Sarah Palin’s house for a most unauthorized biography, McGinniss was unique in his determination to get the most inside information, in how publicly he burned bridges with his subjects and how memorably he placed himself in the narrative.

McGinniss, the adventurous and news-making author and reporter who skewered the marketing of Richard Nixon in The Selling of the President 1968 and tracked his personal journey from sympathizer to scourge of convicted killer Jeffrey MacDonald in the blockbuster Fatal Vision, died Monday at age 71.

McGinniss, who announced last year that he had been diagnosed with inoperable prostate cancer, died from complications related to his disease. His attorney and longtime friend Dennis Holahan said he died at a hospital in Worcester, Mass. Optimistic almost to the end, he had for months posted regular updates on Facebook and Twitter, commenting on everything from foreign policy to his health.

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Short-story writer Mavis Gallant dies at 91

Mavis Gallant, the Montreal-born writer who carved out an international reputation as a master short-story author while living in Paris for decades, died Tuesday at age 91, her publisher said.

The bilingual Quebecois started out as a journalist and went on to publish well over 100 short stories in her lauded career, many of them in The New Yorker magazine and in collections such as The Other Paris, Across the Bridge, and In Transit.

Although she lived abroad, Gallant received several high-profile honors in Canada, including a Companion of the Order of Canada and a Governor General’s Literary Award for her story collection, Home Truths: Selected Canadian Stories.

Random House in Canada confirmed the death, saying she died in her Paris apartment Tuesday morning.

Although at least 120 of her pieces appeared in The New Yorker, her following in the United States remained small. Many of her books remain out of print, short stories tend not to be best sellers and as a Canadian living in Paris she often wrote about foreign cultures. READ FULL STORY

Elizabeth Jane Howard, author of 'Cazalet Chronicles,' dies

Elizabeth Jane Howard, whose saga of a wealthy English family living in the shadow of war enchanted readers a generation ahead of Downton Abbey, died Thursday, her friend and publicist said. She was 90.

Jacqui Graham said that Howard died Thursday at her home in Bungay, England. No details as to the cause of death were immediately available.

Howard’s whirlwind life saw her write 15 novels, leave three marriages, model, act, broadcast, and much more. Many of her books were critical successes, but she was best known for The Cazalet Chronicles, which followed the tangled lives and loves of several generations of an aristocratic household in the run-up to World War II. READ FULL STORY

'It's Kind of a Funny Story' author Ned Vizzini dies at 32

Ned Vizzini, the author of YA favorites It’s Kind of a Funny Story and Be More Chill, died Thursday in New York City. According to the Los Angeles Times, Vizzini committed suicide. He was 32.

Vizzini, a Brooklyn native, began writing professionally for New York City newspapers as a teenager in the late ’90s. His first book, a “quasi-autogiobraphy” called Teen Angst? Naaah…, collected several of Vizzini’s columns for the New York Press and shared its title with an essay Vizzini had published in the New York Times Magazine when he was still a junior at Manhattan’s prestigious Stuyvesant High School. The book hit shelves in 2000. His first novel, Be More Chill, was published in 2004.

That same year, Vizzini experienced depression and suicidal thoughts, which prompted him to call a suicide hotline. Vizzini subsequently spent a week in the psychiatric ward of Brooklyn’s Methodist Hospital. Vizzini would later fictionalize this experience in his acclaimed second novel, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, published in 2006. The novel was adapted into a film starring Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, and Emma Roberts in 2010.
READ FULL STORY

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