Margaret Mitchell: American Rebel

Outtakes: Pulitzer Prize Night

Margaret Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize in the spring of 1937 for Gone With the Wind, to the dismay of some critics and the delight of others. Mitchell received news of the prize by phone, along with multiple requests for interviews. Hating publicity, she fled to a gospel concert at a small black church in […]


Outtakes: Robert Hilburn

Pop music critic and author of Corn Flakes with John Lennon (And Other Tales from a Rock ‘n’ Roll Life) Robert Hilburn recalls a time when he met John Lennon.

John Hammond: From Bessie Smith to Bruce Springsteen

About John Hammond

John Hammond was responsible for discovering Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Robert Johnson, Bessie Smith, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Pete Seeger, and Bruce Springsteen, among others. As a producer, writer, critic, and board member of the NAACP, he was credited as a major force in integrating the music business. An early inductee into the […]

Ernest Hemingway: Rivers to The Sea

Reflections on Ernest Hemingway

by Tom Stoppard When Joseph Conrad died, Ernest Hemingway, by way of an obituary notice, wrote a little piece in the TRANSATLANTIC REVIEW, in October 1924, and what he said was that if it could be shown that by grinding T. S. Eliot down to a fine powder, and by sprinkling the powder upon Conrad’s […]

Ralph Ellison: An American Journey

An American Journey

by Anne Seidlitz In writing INVISIBLE MAN in the late 1940s, Ralph Ellison brought onto the scene a new kind of black protagonist, one at odds with the characters of the leading black novelist at the time, Richard Wright. If Wright’s characters were angry, uneducated, and inarticulate — the consequences of a society that oppressed […]

Dashiell Hammett: Detective, Writer

About Dashiell Hammett

Dashiell Hammett was born on the eastern shore of Maryland in 1894. The second of three children, he dropped out of school at the age of thirteen. He worked a succession of low-paying jobs including freight clerk, railroad laborer, messenger boy, and stevedore. In 1915 he began working on and off as a detective for […]

William Styron: The Way of The Writer

About William Styron

The work of William Styron, which includes novels such as SOPHIE’S CHOICE and THE CONFESSIONS OF NAT TURNER, has generated both praise and controversy over the past fifty years. Grounded in history and epic in sweep, his fiction has grappled with some of the most harrowing events and unresolved moral questions of our time. He […]

The Lives of Lillian Hellman

About Lillian Hellman

She became a writer at a time when writers were celebrities and their recklessness was admirable. Like Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, and Hammett, Lillian Hellman was a smoker, a drinker, a lover, and a fighter. Hellman maintained a social and political life as large and restless as her talent. While her plays were a constant challenge […]

The Source: The Story of the Beats and the Beat Generation

About The Source

“I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and sat down under the huge shade of a Southern Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the boxhouse hills and cry. Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron pole, companion, we thought the same thoughts of the soul, bleak and […]

Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer

About Preston Sturges

Considered the father of the screwball comedy, Preston Sturges was recognized as one of the great early writers in Hollywood. Sturges was born in 1898 in Chicago, Illinois. His mother, Mary Desti, was an Irish immigrant with dreams of stardom. When Preston was still an infant, she left his father and later pursued a career […]