May and June seemed to have been plagued by the loss of important authors. We lost Maurice Sendak on May 8th, Jean Craighead George followed on May 15th and Nora Ephron rounded out the triumvirate on May 26th. If death truly does come in threes, I hope we’ll be done for a while.
Maurice Sendak was and will continue to be loved and remembered for Where the Wild Things Are. It’s hard to believe that Where the Wild Things Arewas first published in 1963. Love and acclaim for the book hasn’t dried up in the nearly 50 years it’s been a part of our world. Sendak has received the Caldecott Medal, the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the National Book Award, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, the National Medal of Arts and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award among many, many other deserved awards. He’ll be remembered for many years to come for his contributions to children’s literature as an author and illustrator.
Many literature loving adults probably remember reading Jean Craighead George’s Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain among other books. Although not my typical book choice, My Side of the Mountainmade such an impact on me as a preteen that I randomly recall parts of the story as I go about my daily life (which has nothing to do with living alone in the mountains). George’s books brought the outdoors and natural life to an audience that isn’t always naturally receptive to it: young girls; while, at the same time, still being entertaining for and loved by boys (after all, I did find this book on my older brother’s bookshelves).
Despite a long list of accomplishments, I believe that Nora Ephron’s most important contribution to the world was in showing that women can be multiple things and do multiple things well. Ephron herself was an award-winning filmmaker, director, producer, screenwriter, novelist, playwright, journalist, author and blogger. She was nominated three times for the Academy Award for Original Screenplay for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally… and Sleepless in Seattle. Ephron came from a successful literary and film family. Her parents were screenwriters (Take Her, She’s Mine among others), her two sisters Delia and Amy are screenwriters and her sister Hallie is a triple threat—journalist, book reviewer and crime fiction novelist.
Many of us heard the news of the passing of these authors with sadness, but their contributions to the craft of culture will be remembered for a long time to come.
What impact have these authors had on your life?