Agent : Victoria Hobbs
Mary McCarthy, well-known novelist, critic, journalist and memoirist, was born in Seattle, Washington of mixed Catholic, Protestant and Jewish descent. She was educated at a Catholic convent and a seminary before attending Vassar. After graduating she was successively an editorial assistant in a publishing house, an editor and a theatre critic, and an instructor in English at Bard College and Sarah Lawrence College. She was made Stevenson Chair of English Literature at Bard College in 1986 and received many awards including the National Medal for Literature and the Edward MacDowell Medal. Her second husband was Edmund Wilson, the famous American critic, by whom she had a son. When she died in October 1989 the Times obituary said: ‘Some writers are recollected in tranquillity, but Mary McCarthy earns more. She has etched herself into the memory and more widely into the public consciousness’, and in a tribute to her her published in the Observer, Alison Lurie said: ‘Mary McCarthy’s achievement was to invent herself as a totally new sort of woman who combined sense and sensibility; who was both coolly intellectual and boldly passionate. Moreover, she managed to combine a lively and varied intellectual and erotic life with marriage and motherhood’. Her books include: The Company She Keeps, The Oasis, which won the Horizon prize, The Groves of Academe, A Charmed Life, Venice Observed, Memoirs of a Catholic Girlhood, the first volume of her autobiography, Sights & Spectacles 1937-1956, The Stones of Florence, On the Contrary, The Group, which was made into a feature film and Occasional Prose, a volume of collected writings. Her second volume of autobiography, How I Grew was published by Penguin in 1989. A new edition of The Group was published by Virago in 2010.