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Author Muriel Spark writing

Literary Figures

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07:14

Remembering Wilfrid Sheed, A Master Of Wit.

Wilfrid Sheed, the satirical British essayist known for bringing his trademark wit to a wide range of novels, reviews and nonfiction books, died this week. He was 80. Fresh Air remembers the writer with excerpts from a 1988 interview.

44:05

Remembering Harvey Pekar In All Of His 'Splendor'

Fresh Air remembers the comic book writer with highlights from 2003 and 2005 interviews. Pekar, who died Monday, was the author of the series American Splendor, which captured the angst of a man struggling with the daily ups and downs of life.

20:21

Remembering Boxing Champ Jose Torres

Jose Torres-- the former light-heavyweight boxing champion-- died from a heart attack on Jan. 19 at the age of 72. Fresh Air remembers him with an interview from 1989.

11:30

John Leonard, Author And Culture Critic, Dies At 69

Leonard was considered one of the best literary critics in America; he was an early champion of future Nobel Prize winners Toni Morrison and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Leonard died Wednesday from complications with lung cancer.

08:29

'Infinite Jest' Author David Foster Wallace

The novelist and essayist was found dead in his home Sept. 12, reportedly a suicide. Fresh Air remembers him with an interview first aired in 1997, the year he won the MacArthur Foundation's "genius" grant.

07:15

Jane Rule, 'Desert of the Heart' Novelist

Canadian author Jane Rule, best known for her novel Desert of the Heart, died Nov. 27 at the age of 76. She'd been battling liver cancer. Rule, whose other work included Memory Board, was one of the best-known and most widely read lesbian writers. Desert of the Heart was published in 1964 — five years before the lesbian and gay civil-rights movement burst into the public consciousness after New York's Stonewall riots. Set in 1950s Nevada, it was adapted for the big screen in 1985 as Desert Hearts.

11:26

Remembering Writer Grace Paley

Grace Paley, an iconic and idiosyncratic American literary voice, died Wednesday. She was 84, and had battled breast cancer. Paley wrote short stories and poems, and much of her writing was inspired by the people she knew growing up in New York, the daughter of Russian Jews. Her first collection of stories, The Little Disturbances of Man: Stories of Men and Women at Love, was published in 1959. Her other collections included Enormous Changes at the Last Minute and Later in the Same Day.

14:05

War Correspondent Nicholas Proffitt

Nicholas Proffitt, who covered the Vietnam War for Newsweek magazine and wrote the book Gardens of Stone, died Nov. 10 at age 63. Gardens of Stone was later made into a film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. This interview originally aired on May 25, 1987.

12:47

Revisiting a Conversation with Historian Shelby Foote

Civil War historian and novelist Shelby Foote died Monday night at age 88. He is best known for his three-volume, 3,000-page history entitled The Civil War: A Narrative, and for narrating Ken Burns' 11-hour PBS series The Civil War. We rebroadcast an interview with Foote from July 27, 1994.

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