Archives: Women writers and journalists

Harriet Preston Spofford and the first female-authored detective series

January 14, 2023 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

Her work had been published in a variety of newspapers and magazines, but most of them were low circulation periodicals. Harriet wrote incessantly, sometimes as much as 15 hours a day, because the money that she received from her publications barely covered the family’s expenses. In 1859 she wrote a story that she believed was • Read More »

The first female-authored detective series, the gun-slinger who became a sports reporter, and the Tylenol murders: newsletter, January 13, 2023

January 13, 2023 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, journalism, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,753) on Friday, January 13, 2023. The “bad news bias” of the news outlet that I regularly visit has been all too obvious lately. I know enough about journalism not to blame the messenger. There’s plenty of bad stuff out there that we need to • Read More »

Metta Victoria Fuller Victor and the first American detective novel

January 6, 2023 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

You have probably never heard the unusual name Metta Victoria Fuller Victor, but from now on whenever you hear the name Edgar Allan Poe, you should try to remember Metta’s name. Poe is the undisputed (mostly) father of American detective fiction. He wrote three short stories featuring Inspector Auguste Dupin, and he wrote about detective • Read More »

Constance Garnett and the translator’s dilemma

December 16, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

When we read a book or see a play that has been written in another language and translated into English, what exactly are we reading or hearing? Are they the words of the author or the words of the translator? This is the eternal dilemma of translation. Each language has its own words, phrases, structure, • Read More »

P.D. James: setting is central to her novels

August 13, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: fiction, journalism, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

When author P.D. James began writing her first novel in the mid-1950s, she wrote later, “it never occurred to me to make a start with anything other than a detective story.” James had been reading mystery novels for many years, and she believed that she could write one that would be good enough to find • Read More »

Helen Kirkpatrick covers the before, during, and after of World War II

August 6, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism, reporters, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

When Helen Kirkpatrick finally got a job as the London correspondent for the Chicago Daily News in 1939, she gave herself a seemingly impossible first assignment. She suggested to her editors that she try to get an interview with the duke of Windsor, the former king Edward. The assignment seemed impossible because it was well • Read More »

Helen Kirkpatrick, Bookshop.org, Paul Revere’s long ride, and the short digit of the engineer: newsletter, August 5, 2022

August 5, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, August 5, 2022. The item concerning independently-owned bookstores that appeared in last week’s newsletter needs a follow-up. If you enjoy ordering books online and receiving them without having to travel, and if you also want to support your local independent bookstore, • Read More »

Cicero, The Feminine Mystique, a memoir, and the death penalty: newsletter, July 15, 2022

July 15, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, watercolor, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 480) on Friday, July 15, 2022. The United States is one of the few nations left on earth that allows capital punishment—the death penalty. And that punishment, according to Maurice Chammah, a staff writer at The Marshall Project and the author of Let the • Read More »

The face of Shakespeare, your brain on true crime, and railing against rankings: newsletter, July 8, 2022

July 8, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, July 8, 2022. The headline in the New York Times read “Columbia won’t participate in the next U.S. News ranking.” My heart leapt up, as the poet has said. It’s time we did away with all of these bogus numbers that essentially • Read More »

Caroline Norton and the first challenge to the male dominance of English law

June 18, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: history, journalism, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

“I exist and I suffer; but the law denies my existence.” Caroline Norton, who wrote this dynamite sentence, knew the power of the pen. Indeed, she lived in a time when it was her only weapon, and she used it well. Doing so brought her a measure of personal satisfaction, but it also changed the • Read More »

Making women legally visible, the Battle of Midway, the lethal nature of heat, and reader reactions: newsletter, June 17, 2022

June 17, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,470) on Friday, June 17, 2022.   Now that America is in the midst of its first major heat wave of the season, it’s probably a good idea to consider heat itself and its effect on human beings. In terms of actual deaths of humans, • Read More »

Edna St. Vincent Millay and the voice of feminism, more about William Roughead, and lots of reader reaction: newsletter, April 1, 2022

April 1, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, April 1, 2022. You newsletter readers are carrying much of the load for this week’s newsletter. I have received several substantial and interesting comments on articles I have included during the past couple of weeks, and I want to share them with • Read More »

Catherine Parr: the first named published author in English who was female

March 5, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

History remembers the name of Catherine Parr as the sixth wife of Henry VIII’s six wives, the one who survived. In truth, however, she should be remembered for much more than that. Her accomplishments were many and widespread. Catherine Parr was the first female to have a book published in English with her name as • Read More »

The first female identified as a book author, Antwerp’s golden age, and more on cryptic crosswords: newsletter, March 4, 2022

March 4, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: history, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,199) on Friday, March 4, 2022. Spring, the calendar tells us, is still a few weeks away, but in my part of the world, it has begun early—and not a moment too soon. The grass and trees are turning a bit greener, and the early • Read More »

Replaying Goodnight Moon, reassessing Neville Chamberlain, and more reader reaction: newsletter, February 18, 2022

February 18, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,290) on Friday, February 18, 2022. Few books touch us like the ones that we are able to read to the children in our lives: sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren, children of friends, etc. No experience I know of can match that of reading • Read More »

Anna Katharine Green, the ‘mother of detective fiction’

January 22, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

With the publication of the stories of the murders in the Rue Morgue, Edgar Allan Poe is deservedly labeled as the “father of modern detective fiction.” Unfortunately, he died too soon to develop that genre. That became the task of others. One of those authors, now long forgotten, was Anna Katharine Green. She is credited • Read More »

The mother of the detective novel, a different view of the first president, baseball’s aborted move west: newsletter, January 21, 2022

January 21, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: baseball, books, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,290) on Friday, January 21, 2022. To simply know how something happens, or that it will happen, is not to understand it. That’s the case whenever I walk into the very generous garden that I have been blessed with. Come spring, something will happen, and • Read More »

Rosemary Sutcliff and The Eagle of the Ninth

January 18, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

Rarely does a historical novel, written for children, generate such controversy between archaeologists and historians, but that is what The Eagle of the Ninth, by Rosemary Sutcliff, did when it was published in 1954. It continues to be the source of controversy today. The novel concerns the Ninth Roman legion, a legion which was mysteriously • Read More »