American Writer Spotlight: Jane Johnston Schoolcraft

Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, or Bamewawagezhikaquay (The Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky), was an Ojibwe writer who lived in the 1800s in the upper peninsula of the Michigan Territory. A woman of many firsts, she holds the unique title of being the first Native American and female literary writer to write poetry and […]

Minimalism vs. Maximalism

Since the mid 20th Century, American writing has been broadly divided into two schools, minimalism and maximalism, each exemplified by the dueling greats, Hemingway and Faulkner. Whereas Hemingway relied on sparse prose, scrubbed of metaphor and symbolism, Faulkner was the opposite: his sentences beautifully rambled across the page, and his characters and their shameful histories […]

Salinger At Princeton – Part 1

Last year I made an unusual pilgrimage. I flew from Chicago to New York, took the train from Penn Station to Princeton Junction, and walked to a seemingly mundane destination: an inconspicuous reading room in the Firestone Library at Princeton University. I had come to read the fabled ‘lost’ J. D. Salinger short stories: unpublished […]

Common Threads: Stories of Female Friendship

We are living in an age where female friendship is “in” – between Taylor Swift’s squad of celebrity gal pals and Lena Dunham’s acclaimed TV show “Girls,” to the legions of Millennial women who idolized four fabulous friends on “Sex & the City” – it’s everywhere you look. But stories of best friends forever and […]

Created Worlds, Part 1

The act of writing fiction is essentially an act of creation. When putting together a novel, the novelist must create peoples and places, bring them to life in a story, and portray them with vivid detail that makes the story come alive for the reader. Many times novels exist as self-contained creations, but sometimes these […]

American Literary Playlists – Part 2

The creative processes of literary writing and songwriting have always been intertwined. Musicians such as Bob Dylan and Patti Smith have successfully crossed over into the literary realm, winning awards and critical praise for their poetry and autobiographies. Likewise, many famous American writers have expressed musical leanings: both Jack Kerouac and Maya Angelou recorded albums; […]

American Writer Spotlight: Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald

Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald is a complicated woman, no matter how you slice it. She’s been painted as both the hawkish wife who is the downfall of her husband and the thwarted creative spirit; both the inspiration for the Eagles’ “Witchy Woman” and a victim of the patriarchal views of the time that frustrated her artistic […]

Giving Back to Our Favorite Writers

American literature and I have had a rocky relationship, and I hope you’ll bear with me as I tell you about it. I’ll admit, I am more likely to turn to British or Russian fiction when I have the time to read for pleasure. The first Steinbeck I ever read, Of Mice and Men, I […]