“Some truth has no nourishment in it.”—Alice Childress
On August 14, 1994, at the age of 77, the literary world lost Alice Childress—African American play write, author and actress. Born on October, 12th 1916, in Charleston, SC, Childress grew up in New York’s Harlem. She was a theatre actress and earned a Tony nomination for her role in “Anna Lucasta”in 1944. Alice Childress’ most notable works included the young adult novel, A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich (1973), and her play, Trouble in Mind (1955).
Alice Childress (October 12, 1916 – August 14, 1994) was an American playwright, actor, and author, acknowledged as “the only African-American woman to have written, produced, and published plays for four decades.” Childress described her writing as trying to portray the have-nots in a have society, saying: “My writing attempts to interpret the ‘ordinary’ because they are not ordinary Each human is uniquely different. Like snowflakes, the human pattern is never cast twice. We are uncommonly and marvellously intricate in thought and action, our problems are most complex and, too often, silently borne.” Childress also became involved in social causes, and formed an off-Broadway union for actors.
Her other publications include:
Like One of the Family (1956))
A Short Walk (1979)
Rainbow Jordan (1981)
Those Other People (1989)
Just a Little Simple (1950)
Gold Through the Trees (1952)
Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White (1966)
“I would like to attribute my range of interests to being an independent intellectual, but although I’m independent, I’m not sure I qualify as an intellectual. Basically, I’m an old-fashioned amateur.”—Anne Fadiman
Born on August 7th, 1953, Anne Fadiman is the daughter of World War II correspondent Annalee Jacoby Fadiman. Anne Fadiman has written a plethora of essays on a wide range of topics, including linguistics, cultural stigmas, the Postal Service and ice cream. Her essays have been published in The New Yorker and in The New York Times among many others. Fadiman is currently an adjunct professor of English at Yale University, she is also the Francis Writer-in-Residency.
Fadiman’s 1997 book The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures won the 1997 National Book Critics Circle Award as well as the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest, and the Salon Book Award. Researched in a small county hospital in California, it examined a Hmong family from Laos with a child with epilepsy, and their cultural, linguistic, and medical struggles with the American medical system.
She has authored two books of essays, Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader (1998) and At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays (2007), a collection of essays on Samuel Taylor Coleridge, postal history, and ice cream, among other topics; it was the source of an unencrypted quotation in the New York Times Sunday Acrostic. She also edited Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love (2005) and the Best American Essays 2003(2003).
At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays (2007)
Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader (1998)
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures, 1997
Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love (2005)
“Women’s currency is their looks. Like it or not, the most powerful woman is an 18-year-old woman.”–Susan Cheever
Susan Cheever, born July 31, 1943, is well-known for her biographies and memoirs, including Home Before Dark, in which she writes about her family. Much like her father, John Cheever, she suffered from a substance abuse problem. Now in recovery, Cheever uses her past struggles with substance abuse and sex addiction to inform several meaningful memoirs and essays. From Henry David Thoreau, to Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margret Fuller Cheever has authored many biographies. Aside from nonfiction, she also has several novels published, including Doctors and Women and The Cage. Cheever has several essays in which she talks about women’s issues, including “Baby Battle,” that appeared in the 2006 anthology Mommy Wars. She currently teaches in the MFA program at Bennington College and at The New School. Cheever has two children, a son and a daughter.