MOST CHARISMATIC AMERICAN WRITERS–
THE ALL-TIME AMERICAN WRITERS TOURNAMENT
(Photo: John Simone.)
Call them What Might’ve Beens. In the 1980’s a trio of literary stars, the creation of Paris Review icon George Plimpton and other New Yorkers, seemed ready to conquer the literary landscape and become larger-than-life cultural celebrities. Each had written a Big Hit book.
Jay McInerney had Bright Lights, Big City.
Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York.
Bret Easton Ellis made a splash with Less Than Zero.
Yet their follow-ups were tepid at best. Opportunity passed. Their stars faded. They’re still out there, writing and publishing books. Ellis for one struggles mightily to regain attention, but the spotlight has moved on.
NEXT: Most Charismatic Writer #12.
ALL-TIME AMERICAN WRITERS TOURNAMENT
Writers and their fans love a party.
Ernest Hemingway was able to squeeze in some trout fishing at a nearby river early that morning.
Fans of Walt Whitman greeted his entrance into town, then followed him everywhere.
We were surprised at how much trash talking the “Big Four” writers did at the event, especially Mark Twain and Whitman. Apparently it’s an American tradition of long standing. You get a hint of this in our initial report.
Our reporter Mel Diper (@meldiper) did three interviews before becoming indisposed. Here are statements gleaned from his notes:
Poet Maya Angelou: “I was exquisitely gratified by the experience, I truly was. A spring tonic to renew the spirit. Such men. I feared entanglement with brutes! But they were, all four of them– even Ernest– very charming.”
Participatory Journalist George Plimpton: “I met the organizer of this event once before, you know. Don’t trust him!” (To a waitress): “I believe I’ll have a be-ah.” (Note: beer.) “It’s been ye-ahs” (years) “since I had one.” (An assistant of Plimpton’s pays for the beer. Like many writers of his station, George never carries money.)
Critic/Novelist Mary McCarthy: “Young man, have you been drinking too much? You are not looking well!”
Stay tuned for more reports from the venue!