American Writers

Writer N. Scott Momaday at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2019

N. Scott Momaday Built the Foundations of Native American Literature

Smithsonian scholars offer their reflections on the author, who died last week at age 89, and his impact on a new generation of Native writers

Clockwise from top left: Molly Ringwald as Joanne Carson, Demi Moore as Ann Woodward, Naomi Watts as Babe Paley, Tom Hollander as Truman Capote and Diane Lane as Slim Keith in "Feud: Capote vs. the Swans"

The Real History Behind 'Feud: Capote vs. the Swans'

Ryan Murphy's new mini-series dramatizes the "In Cold Blood" author's betrayal of an insular group of Manhattan socialites

Our ten most-read stories of the year featured the author of Anne of Green Gables, tiny penguins, Queen Charlotte and more.

Our Top Ten Stories of 2023

From the world's oldest dog to the real history behind "Oppenheimer," these were the magazine's most-read articles of the year

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The Books We Loved

Smithsonian editors choose their favorite (mostly) nonfiction of (mostly) 2023

The writer Raymond Chandler in 1954

Rare Poem by 'Big Sleep' Author Raymond Chandler Found in a Shoebox

A magazine editor rediscovered the work among the papers his family donated to the University of Oxford

Historian Peter Mancall says New English Canaan is “not very long” and “not very well written,” but holds immense value in what it says about the nation’s founding.

How America's First Banned Book Survived and Became an Anti-Authoritarian Icon

The Puritans outlawed Thomas Morton's "New English Canaan" because it was critical of the society they were building in colonial New England

A new collection of works by and about Phillis Wheatley includes a rare handwritten manuscript of the poet's 1773 poem titled "Ocean."

The Smithsonian Acquires Major Works by and About Phillis Wheatley

The stunning trove of texts sheds new light on Wheatley, the first African American to publish a book of poetry

Chairs sit ready for the attendees of the ceremony recognizing 2020 and 2021 Pulitzer Prize winners.

Why the Pulitzer Prizes Are Expanding Eligibility to Non-U.S. Citizens

The prestigious awards will soon be open to permanent residents and those who call the U.S. their "longtime primary home"

Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Mary Welsh, on a trip to Kenya in 1952

Ernest Hemingway and His Wife Survived Two Plane Crashes Just One Day Apart

The novelist recounted the harrowing ordeal in a letter, which just sold for $237,055 at auction

André Morin as John Derwent and Katherine Gauthier as Kate Derwent in The Shadow of a Doubt

A Lost Edith Wharton Play Debuts on Stage for the First Time

After more than 100 years, the renowned writer's script resurfaced in a Texas archive

The cast of The Outsiders during the musical's world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego earlier this year

'The Outsiders' Musical Is Coming to Broadway

The greasers and Socs from S.E. Hinton's popular novel will spar on stage this spring

Huey P. Newton (right) and his second wife, Fredrika Newton

The Misunderstood Visionary Behind the Black Panther Party

Huey P. Newton has been mythologized and maligned since his murder 34 years ago. His family and friends offer an intimate look inside his life and mind

Taylor Swift performs during the Eras Tour at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, on August 7. 

Swifties Can Now Study Literature (Taylor's Version)

At a Belgian university, Taylor Swift fans can expect intertextual analysis beyond their wildest dreams

Artists have long used these rustic dune shacks in Cape Cod as creative retreats.

Tennessee Williams and Jack Kerouac Once Found Refuge in the Dune Shacks of Cape Cod. Now, Longtime Residents Are Being Forced Out

The National Park Service plans to lease out some of the structures, which have long been used by artists and writers

Allen Ginsberg photographs himself, Arthur Miller and William H. Gass in an elevator in Copenhagen's Hotel Royal.

See Allen Ginsberg's Photographs—and A.I.-Generated Poems Based on Them

The Beat poet's photos, taken throughout his literary career, depict friends and fellow writers

The historic railway is the highest in America.

You Can Now Take a Sunrise Train Ride to the Top of Pikes Peak

See the panoramic vistas from atop the 14,000-foot mountain that inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write "America the Beautiful"

Sunrise near the Willa Cather Memorial Prairie. Cather “made the outside world know Nebraska as no one else has done,” Sinclair Lewis once said.

Explore the World of Willa Cather in Her Nebraska Hometown

Maybe the author of “O Pioneers!” is no longer the height of literary chic. But a century later she’s still a superstar in her small prairie community

Cormac McCarthy attending the premiere of the film adaptation of The Road in 2009

Behind the Bleak, Beautiful Stories of Cormac McCarthy

The writer, who died this week at age 89, was an unflinching chronicler of humanity's brutality

Public swimming at Clift Park in Skaneateles, New York

The 15 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2023

From an ultramarathon capital in the Rockies to a laid-back village in the Florida Keys, these vibrant towns are calling your name

The sale is by far the largest, and certainly most significant, auction of Hawthorne papers in history.

You Could Own Nathaniel Hawthorne's Handwritten Notes on 'The Scarlet Letter'

Enjoy an exclusive preview of an auction of the novelist's papers, which feature rarely seen edits and atrocious penmanship

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