Louisa May Alcott’s Tenacity

February 15, 2011 | CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

For a writer talent is essential, but often it’s determination that wins the day, says Susan Cheever. Speaking at the Best-Selling Author Series, sponsored by the Writing Center at Hunter College, Cheever referred to the subject of her latest book, a biography of Louisa May Alcott. A prominent publisher of the time, James T. Fields, had told Alcott to “stick to your teaching. You can’t write,” recalls Cheever, after she had turned in her first manuscript. It was the moment, says Cheever, that Alcott, author of “Little Women,” became a writer. “The desire to show people that they’re wrong is a more powerful engine than ambition.”
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