- Quote: “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”
- Answer: Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was a humorist, essayist, and novelist who wrote about the journeys of Tom Sawyer and his good friend Huck Finn. Before succeeding as a novelist, Twain was a master pilot on a Mississippi tugboat, and a journalist. Notoriously bad with money, he squandered his fortunes and eventually required the help of a friend in order to pay back his debts.
- Quote: “If a story is in you, it has to come out.”
- Answer: William is easily one of the most impactful writers in American history. His works included the novels “As I Lay Dying” and “The Sound and the Fury,” along with essays, poems, and screenplays. Born in Mississippi, The Nobel Prize-winner often wrote about his homeland, with many of his stories taking place in the South.
- Quote: “All that you touch you change. All that you change changes you. The only lasting truth is change.”
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- Answer: Octavia Butler created fantasy worlds after growing up in a reality where she depended on her imagination for solace as a child. After being encouraged to pursue a science fiction writing workshop while attending community college, Butler began writing and selling her work. She was awarded a McArthur Genius award in 1995. Butler died of a stroke in February 2006 at 56.
- Quote: “I don't care what anybody says about me as long as it isn’t true.”
- Answer: Truman Capote was an influential American writer who wrote “Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Three Stories,” one of many works that later brought to the screen. Capote wrote fiction and non-fiction. “In Cold Blood” a story about a family murdered in Kansas, and the individuals arrested for the murder, became wildly successful.
- Quote: “In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than just ideals to be valued—they may be essential to survival.”
- Answer: Noam Chomsky—one of the great American philosophers and writers alive today—writes at length about politics, psychology, and social issues. His political activism and critiques of behavioral psychology established him early in his career as an idealist who didn’t fear questioning established norms. His recent work has included discussions about the loss of freedoms in the globalized digital age.
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