Alison Lurie (1926-2020)

My old friend and mentor Professor Alison Lurie, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Foreign Affairs and The War Between the Tates, has died at the age of 94.

I met Alison in my junior year at Cornell, when I took her creative writing class. I’d just started writing Fool on the Hill, the novel that would serve as my senior thesis in Honors English. Alison liked my work and encouraged me to send the finished manuscript to her agent, Melanie Jackson. Melanie liked the book too, and sold Fool on the Hill to Atlantic Monthly Press just six months after I graduated. Without Alison’s generosity, the arc of my writing career would have been very different—if it had happened at all.

It had been many years since I’d seen Alison in person, but we emailed from time to time, most recently in September when we exchanged happy birthdays (we were born just five days—and several decades—apart). I’m very glad I took the opportunity to say thank you to her one more time.

Godspeed, Alison.

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3 Responses to Alison Lurie (1926-2020)

  1. So sorry to hear of her passing. I first happened upon her work with Only Children when I was still mostly a child myself and starting to explore grownup literature pretty much at random. I loved how real the characters were and sought out more.

  2. Edward Hower says:

    I wonderful tribute in the Cornell Chronicle. Thanks to who ever wrote it, especially since many newspapers got a lot of things wrong .
    The December 5 issue of the Ithaca Journal will run my obit. I kept it pretty short because I know alison didn’t like to see a lot of fuss made over her. But she would have loved your review.

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