American Writers

Composer and pianist George Gershwin, whose 1924 composition "Rhapsody in Blue" entered the public domain on January 1, 2020

Start of 2020 Ushers Thousands of Once-Copyrighted Works Into the Public Domain

After 95 years of exclusivity, these films, books and compositions are now free for use by everyone

Louisa May Alcott is no longer regarded as a sentimental author for girls, but as a pioneering writer of the first rank.

The New 'Little Women' Brings Louisa May Alcott's Real Life to the Big Screen

More so than in previous film adaptations, writer and director Greta Gerwig weaves the American writer's own experiences into the classic story

Maya Angelou’s breakthrough memoir, published 50 years ago, launched a revolution in literature and social awareness.

Published More Than 50 Years Ago, 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' Launched a Revolution

Maya Angelou’s breakthrough memoir forever changed American literature and helped carve a new space for black self-expression

Representatives of the American Library Association deliver a petition protesting new e-book limitations to Macmillan Publishers.

Why New Restrictions on Library E-Book Access Are Generating Controversy

Macmillan Publishers will only allow libraries to purchase one copy of an e-book during the first eight weeks following publication

J.D. Salinger (center left with his hand on his chin) on the deck of the M.S. Kungsholm, 1941

Get a Rare Peek Into the Life of Reclusive Writer J.D. Salinger

A new exhibition at the New York Public Library includes never-before-seen photographs, letters and manuscripts

A Fremont Correctional Facility inmate reading a book on the top bunk of his cell.

Prison Book Bans Are ‘Arbitrary and Irrational,’ Report Finds

PEN America's report coincided with the annual Banned Books Week

Kurt Vonnegut in 1988

A New Kurt Vonnegut Museum Is Opening in His Hometown

The Indianapolis museum will feature a re-creation of the author’s writing studio and a “freedom of expression exhibition,” among other attractions

The author's son plans on releasing a trove of his father's unpublished works at some point during the next decade

J.D. Salinger’s Work Is Coming to E-Readers for the First Time

The author’s longtime publishing company will release four e-books in August

Toni Morrison, painted by Robert McCurdy, 2006, oil on canvas

Toni Morrison, ‘Beloved’ Author Who Cataloged the African-American Experience, Dies at 88

'She changed the whole cartography of black writing,' says Kinshasha Holman Conwill of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Nantucket harbor

Follow Herman Melville's Footsteps Through Nantucket

The writer visited the island off of Cape Cod only after he penned <em>Moby Dick</em>

Several years after traveling through the South with fellow writer Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes wrote an essay about an encounter with a young man escaping chain gang labor.

A Lost Work by Langston Hughes Examines the Harsh Life on the Chain Gang

In 1933, the Harlem Renaissance star wrote a powerful essay about race. It has never been published in English—until now

La Jolla's 'Lorax' Tree Has Fallen

The Monterey cypress believed to have partially inspired Dr. Seuss's 1971 classic enviromental tale toppled last week for unknown reasons

Walt Whitman in 1869, as photographed by William Kurtz

Rare Walt Whitman Artifacts Go on View at Library of Congress for Poet's 200th Birthday

The library holds the world’s largest collection of Whitman-related items

Susan Sontag photographed in 1972.

Did Susan Sontag Write the Seminal Book Attributed to Her Husband?

An upcoming biography claims that before she became a towering literary figure, Sontag was the true author of <i>Freud: The Mind of the Moralist</i>

Mr. Greedy received a "readability" score of 4.4, while Of Mice and Men received a rating of 4.6

Study Suggests ‘Mr. Greedy’ Children’s Book Is Almost as Hard to Read as Steinbeck Classics

The analysis judged texts’ complexity based on sentence length, average word length, vocabulary level, but did not look at reading comprehension

Salinger’s son and widow first started preparing the works for publication in 2011.

J.D. Salinger’s Unpublished Works Will Be Released to the Public Over the Next Decade

The author produced a trove of unseen writings over a nearly 50-year period prior to his death in 2010

Mary Oliver, a Poet Whose Simple Turns of Phrase Held Mass Appeal, Dies at 83

The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer was known for her straightforward meditations on nature, spirituality and the human experience

Poe coined the phrase “the imp of the perverse” in an 1845 story of that title about an almost perfect murder.

How Edgar Allan Poe Became Our Era's Premier Storyteller

Fans of the mystery writer have no shortage of ways to pay homage to the scribe behind "The Raven" and so much more

Only one of the letters included in the scrapbook has been previously published

Kurt Vonnegut’s Unpublished World War II Scrapbook Reveals Origins of ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’

Volume features 22 letters from author to his family, photographs of the razed city of Dresden, telegrams and news clippings

The re-discovered works are newly published in the literary journal Fugue.

Scholar Unearths Trove of Anne Sexton’s Forgotten Early Works

The four poems and an essay find the confessional poet detailing American life in the 1950s, from skiing to suburban lawn care

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