EB: How did you begin writing in general and writing nonfiction specifically? What drew you to writing biographies?
LB: I’ve been a writer since childhood. I was one of those kids who wrote stories about her schoolmates and teachers. It was, I guess a way to get attention and stand out, since it came easily and no one else I knew had thought of it. I kept pushing the envelope and making up more elaborate stories, until my third-grade teacher, offended by my unlicensed output, accused me of lying. This was a brutal education in imagination and power. My mother encouraged me to keep writing, and now I have been at it for most of my life.
“Undercover with Louise Fitzhugh, the author of HARRIET THE SPY”
A Talk with LESLIE BRODY about Researching and Writing Biography
LESLIE BRODY, local author and University of Redlands professor of creative writing is this year’s GUEST SPEAKER at The Friends of A.K. Smiley Public Library’s Annual Membership Meeting on Sunday June 6, 2021 at 3:30 PM via ZOOM. This virtual event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Join the Zoom Meeting here https://bit.ly/3uX0oTk or by logging into the Zoom website with Meeting ID: 546 218 7291 and Passcode: 2MBPQ7
LESLIE BRODY is the author of the critically acclaimed new biography, Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy, published by Seal Press in December 2020. Her previous books include, Irrepressible, the Life and Times of Jessica Mitford and Red Star Sister.
“In 1963 thirty-four-year-old Louise Fitzhugh was fresh off a successful exhibition of her paintings and drawings at an Upper East Side gallery when she suddenly declared her fine art career a catastrophe. She’d recently illustrated the children’s book Suzuki Beane, a charming Beatnik spin on Eloise, written by her friend and sometime lover Sandra Scoppettone, and it was to children’s literature that Louise turned again. She wrote to her lifelong friend the poet James Merrill to tell him about her new book project: “It is called Harriet the Spy and is about a nasty little girl who keeps a notebook on all her friends.”