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Women’s History Month: Favourite Authors?

I didn’t realize that March was Women’s History Month until I saw it mentioned on the Penguin USA blog. What they’re doing there is asking people to name their favourite women writers in the Comments section of their blog.

Anyone who’s talked books with me for any length of time will already know my favourite female author — my favourite author, period. Dorothy Dunnett is my favourite fiction author of all time. Even if I were to lose my home, my cats, and all my other worldly goods, you wouldn’t be able to pry the Lymond Chronicles from my clutching hands.

I’ll have to mull over my other favourite female fiction writers. I love a great many of them.

When it comes to non-fiction, my hands-down favourite would be Margaret Macmillan, author of Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World, the book about the months-long conference held after World War 1, during which the three great powers divided the world up among them, creating most of the world political problems we’re still wrestling with almost a century later.

These two, Dunnett and Macmillan, are at the very top of my favourites list, male or female.

Farewell to Frank McCourt

Such sad news, that author Frank McCourt has died. (“Frank McCourt, Pulitzer Prize Winner, dies”) He was the retired school teacher who sprang into public notice in his 60s, with the publication of his first novel, Angela’s Ashes.

He was an inspiration to me, especially since I haven’t published my own first novel yet. But he was an extra inspiration, having overcome a very difficult life growing up, to achieve the sort of success he did, both in his teaching and finally in his writing.

After that first book, he went on to write ‘Tis, Teacher Man, and Angela and the Baby Jesus.

He had recently been battling skin cancer, and just last week was admitted to hospital after a bout with meningitis. His brother Malachy prepared Frank’s fans for what was coming, warning people that it didn’t look like it would be very long. And Frank finally died in Manhattan yesterday afternoon (Sunday).

If you want a glimpse of what Frank McCourt was all about, have a look at this clip from the CBC TV program, “Hot Type,” and Evan Solomon’s interview with Mr. McCourt: ‘Tis Frank McCourt.

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