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Cover, Anya Seton A Writing Life

“My forte is story, and a peculiarly meticulous (fearful, yes) desire to weave historical fact into story. Make history come alive and as exciting as the past is to me.”

-Anya Seton Journal, Aug. 21, 1953

Anya Seton

A Writing Life
By Lucinda MacKethan

ISBN 9781641600866

Chicago Review Press (Aug 2020)

A compelling portrait of a deeply dedicated writer whose life was full of inner turmoil 

Anya Seton was the bestselling author of ten historical novels, including the masterpieces Katherine and The Winthrop Woman, which are still widely beloved over sixty years after their original publication. Yet there has never before been a book-length biography of this great American writer. Author Lucinda MacKethan, with the support of Seton's daughters and unprecedented access to the novelist's decades' worth of journals detailing her writing throughout her career, has crafted an intimate look at the writer in her own words.

Reviews for Anya Seton: A Writing Life

“Anya Seton is truly one of the most beloved godmothers of women writers of my generation (including me), and this long-overdue biography gives texture and insight into her life, her process, and her books. I grieved for the very real challenges she faced as a woman of letters, and cheered for her triumphs. Kudos to Lucinda H. MacKethan for bringing us this rich, thoughtful material.”

-Barbara O'Neal, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids 

"Lucinda MacKethan brings Anya Seton's creative process to vivid and memorable life, illuminating the thoughts and emotions of an important but perhaps underappreciated writer of historical fiction. Both fans and new initiates to Seton's work will enjoy this sensitive, thoughtful portrayal. This Writing Life will stick in the reader's mind long after the book is closed."

 -Carrie Callaghan, author of Salt the Snow and A Light of Her Own

"Lucinda H. MacKethan takes a lovely, bold, deep dive into Anya Seton's writing life, chronicling her passionate longings, tragedies, and triumphs—and, most crucially, the dailiness of writing. Anya Seton is a fascinating quest featuring a real-life heroine who found freedom through fiction—and her identity as a  storyteller—as she struggled to define herself apart from the authorial acclaim of her parents and the rigid labels of society." 


-Christina Lane, author of Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, the Forgotten Woman Behind Hitchcock

Lucinda MacKethan

Lucinda H. MacKethan is Alumni Distinguished Professor of English Emerita at North Carolina State University, where she taught courses primarily in Southern and African American literature. 

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