“Fannie: The Talent for Success of Writer Fannie Hurst”
By Donna Seaman
Fannie Hurst (1889-1968) was an extraordinarily popular short-story writer. The Saturday Evening Post and Cosmopolitan competed for her tales of shopgirls and poor immigrant families, and her story collections, novels, and their movie versions (most famously Imitation of Life), were widely discussed. Attractive and intrepid, Hurst became a celebrity. Regularly quoted on such topics as race relations, feminism, and health, she was friends with the likes of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and Zora Neale Hurston, then, after decades of fame, was abruptly forgotten. Kroeger, who resurrected reporter Nellie Bly in her first biography, reclaims Hurst, a born storyteller and maverick, in a radiant portrait that also incisively illuminates the mores of her turbulent times. The story begins in Hurst’s hometown, St. Louis, where she attended Washington University. “Violently ambitious” and leery of marriage, Hurst moved to New York City, devoted herself to writing her daringly frank and earthy stories, and fashioned an unconventional and dazzlingly successful life. Even she admitted that she wasn’t as literary a writer as, say, F Scott Fitzgerald, but Hurst wrote with passion and empathy, and lived with verve, and it’s good to have her among us again. -Donna Seaman
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The Suffragents in the news: Kirkus Features, Kirkus Reviews, Foreword Reviews, Town & Country, The American Scholar, Tabletmag.com, Unorthodox podcast, Top of Mind with Julie Rose (live), NYU Features, Women’s Media Center, Futurity, Non-Fiction Fans, HeforShe.org’s The Scoop, Opzij magazine (NL), AmericasDemocrats podcast, Facebook , Brooke’s posts, Good Men Project , suffrageandthemedia.org,
Upcoming events: Oct. 19: East Hampton Library. Oct. 22: Author’s Talk & Tea: Woodlawn Conservancy. Oct. 26: Talk Back at the Black Box Theater for Nancy Smithner’s “Hear Them Roar: The Fight for Women’s Rights.” Nov. 5: Holiday Book Signing at the Beekman Arms in Rhinebeck, NY. Nov. 6: Brentwood Public Library Nov. 7: NYU Center for the Humanities. Nov. 10: Gotham Center for NYC History/CUNY Graduate Center Nov. 16: Book & Bottle: Suffolk County Historical Society & Museum. Nov. 17-18 Researching New York Conference, Albany. Nov. 20: Brookhaven League of Women Voters. March 10: Keynote, Joint Journalism & Communications Historians Conference, New York City.
Parting shots of: the book launch events of Sept. 1 in East Hampton; Sept. 11 in NYC and Sept. 14 in Cambridge Mass. I’ve got comment and a video (expected soon) of the Sept. 28 event with Angela P. Dodson at the NY Society Library I spoke at the NY Genealogical & Biographical Society Fall Luncheon on Oct. 10 to an audience in which men were very well represented. Oct. 14, I presented on a panel at the AJHA Convention, Little Rock, Ark., on ‘When the Women of Suffrage Got Its Makeover On.” More to come on that.