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Author Muriel Spark writing

Literary Figures

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20:52

'Fresh Air' Remembers Animator Chuck Jones

Chuck Jones, creator of the cartoon characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and many others for Warner Bros., died Friday at the age of 89. His career in animation lasted nearly 70 years. Fresh Air remembers him with a 1989 interview.

11:25

We remember poet and essayist June Jordan.

She died on June 14 2002, at age 65, from breast cancer. She was one of the most widely published African-American writers. In her poems and political essays, she addressed issues of racism, oppression and dispossession. She was born in Harlem and grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. She taught English at the University of California at Berkeley.

21:15

Poet and Essayist Lucy Grealy

She died last month at the age of 39. As a child, Grealy spent five years being treated for cancer, which left her face disfigured. She had over 30 reconstructive procedures and years of living with a distorted self-image. She wrote Autobiography of a Face in 1994, her memoir about coming to terms with looking less than perfect in a society that values female beauty. No cause of death was announced, but friends indicated she was despondent of late. Her last book was As Seen on TV, published in 2000.

19:36

Listening to Susan Sontag, One More Time

Writer Susan Sontag died Wednesday at age 71 of leukemia. We listen back to two interviews with her: a 1989 conversation about her book AIDS and Its Metaphors; and 1993 interview conducted shortly after Sontag returned from Sarajevo, where she directed a performance of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot in Serbo-Croatian.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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