Les Grandes Dames Litteraires

Camille at Book Moot writes about the children’s authors she’s met. I don’t think I’ve ever met any real authors. I do know of several living authors I’d like to meet, not just meet, but sit down and have lunch, correspond via email, invite to visit my blog, whatever. I might become tongue-tied in person if I met any of these Grandes Dames, but it would definitely be worth the embarrassment.

1. Madeleine L’Engle. I read somewhere that Ms. L’Engle is not in good health. She’s 87 years old. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to meet her at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and hear her thoughts on —well, on whatever she wanted to discuss?

2. Tasha Tudor. I know, it seems as if I only want to meet elderly authors; Tasha Tudor is 90 years old. However, I prefer the term “wise women.” To have tea with Tasha Tudor and to tour her garden and home would be a delightful experience.

3. Charlotte Zolotow will be 91 on June 26, 2006. From her website: “She is wheelchair-bound, close to blind, and pretty mad about it (understandably). But she has no illnesses or diseases, and though she is sometimes forgetful these days, her memories about writing, editing, and the children’s book world are very clear.”
Ms. Zolotow edited and wrote books with all sorts of other children’s authors. I can only imagine what wonderful stories she could tell.

4. P.D. James is the youngest of this group at 85 years of age. She’s still writing. I just finished The Lighthouse, her latest detective novel, and I’ll write about it soon. Suffice it to say now that I would enjoy talking to her about her detective, Adam Dalgliesh, and about her writing and her faith.
A case for P.D. James as a Christian novelist by Ralph Wood in Theology Today, January, 2003.

What authors would you enjoy meeting for tea?

8 thoughts on “Les Grandes Dames Litteraires

  1. Definitely Maeve Binchy. She looks like the perfect author to have over for tea, scones and a tonne of gossip!

  2. Wow, Semicolon. Can I just say DITTO? Especially L’Engle and James. I would love to meet them both.


  3. Genevieve

    Have you read Ursula Nordstrom’s Dear Genius? It’s a book of her letters — she edited just about everyone wonderful in children’s literature, from her young days until she retired. She edited Zolotow, Wilder (Wilder’s last books were done in Nordstrom’s early days at HarperBooks), Sendak, you name it . . . . it’s like sitting down with a grande dame of children’s lit, only better.

  4. Well, since you brought it up…We didn’t sit down to tea together, but I have met one of my favorite writers–Frederica Mathewes-Green–at a Touchstone conference 18 months ago, and we talked about–writing! She told me she didn’t start writing till she was 37, and she said, so encouragingly, that “life is longer than you think.” She was so warm and easy to talk to, that I emailed her later–she responded immediately, herself–and I have invited her to read my blog, since it was partly due to her encouragement that I started it. Very cool, huh?

    They’re not ladies of literature, but at the same conference I DID get to sit down to lunch with Tom Howard (Elizabeth Elliot’s brother who’s written several books) and Rod Dreher (before Crunchy Cons came out).

    Okay, I’m done name-dropping now. It was great fun, tho!

    YOUR tea party would be a blast! I’d love to meet PD James and Elizabeth Elliot especially.

    Not at the same gathering…but I’ve always thought it would be interesting to meet Anne McCaffrey.

  5. What a fun post! Of course, the ones you mentioned. Also, Elisabeth Elliot, and, let’s see, Kathleen Norris. There are several authors with whom I am not in full agreement, but the thought of having them over for dinner and discussion would just excite me to death: Michael Pollan comes to mind. He’s a guy, I know, not a Grande Dame. David McCullough just seems like he could be my father and I imagine him as a charming and gracious guest.

    Fun little fantasy on a dark November afternoon…

  6. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz

    I know that Madeleine L’Engle has passed away in the past few years. Very sad. I’d have loved to have met her for tea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *