Cover image for A to Z of American women writers
A to Z of American women writers
Kort, Carol.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Facts On File, [2000]

Physical Description:
xiii, 274 pages : portraits ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS147 .K67 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



This volume profiles more than 150 women whose works have greatly influenced American writing. Each profile features an in-depth examination of its subject's biography, literary and personal influences as well as a discussion of each writer's major works, and a further reading section listing sources for further study on the author or her works.

Profiles include: Mary Rowlandson (c. 1635-1711), Nonfiction writer; Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), Novelist; Harriet A. Jacobs (1813-1897), Autobiographer; Nellie Bly (1865-1922), Journalist; Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973), Novelist and biographer; Toni Morrison (1931-present), Novelist and essayist; Maxine Hong Kingston (1940-present), Novelist and memoirist; and Rita Dove (1952-present), Poet and short story writer.

Author Notes

Carol Kort is a freelance writer who has written feature articles for the New York Times ("At the Nation's Table" column), the Boston Globe Sunday magazine, the Boston Herald Sunday magazine (plus two weekly columns for the Boston Herald), and numerous national magazines, including Working Woman and Family Life. She lives in Brookline, MA.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Kort has updated her 2000 biographical dictionary of 150 American women writers with 36 new entries. She includes writers from colonial times to the present, from a variety of geographical regions, in the genres of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, journalism, children's literature, and personal narrative. Among the authors who have been added are Erma Bombeck, Patricia Cornwell, Katharine Graham, Jhumpa Lahiri, Annie Proulx, and Sonia Sanchez.  The entries are arranged alphabetically by last name and include the author's dates, the genres of the author's works, a biographical sketch ranging from one to three pages, a list of resources for further reading, and often a black-and-white photograph of the writer. The entries are followed by a bibliography of recommended sources (a subset of the sources listed after the entries) and three lists sorting the entries into literary genre, region/subject matter/background/style, and year of birth. A general index references authors, titles of works, and topics. Many of the writers are included in other reference works, such as the larger American Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide from Colonial Times to the Present (Ungar, 1979-1994) and volumes in Gale's Dictionary of Literary Biography. The entries in the current work are engaging, however, and the lists for further reading are well chosen. Smaller public libraries and high schools will find this a useful title.--Crosser, Cynthia Copyright 2008 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Journalist and editor Kort has produced a solid compendium of biographical profiles of over 150 women writers from the entire lifespan of American literature. Here Ann Rice bumps into Sylvia Plath, and Amy Tan follows Harriet Beecher Stowe. In mostly one-page entries, Kort profiles the heavyweights of American literature (e.g., Elizabeth Dickinson, Willa Cather, and Kate Chopin) as well as writers like Jean Auel, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Sue Grafton. She offers biographical information about each writer, including birth and death dates; brief comments on her career (e.g., preferred genre, pseudonyms, and major works); and short bibliographies of books by and about each author. Three subject indexesÄgenre, date of birth, and themeÄcomplement the general index and add additional points of access for students. Similar to but not as helpful as The Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States (LJ 11/15/94), which is more comprehensive, this work is recommended for high school and public libraries looking for another inexpensive "first-stop" reference book.ÄNeal Wyatt, Chesterfield Cty. P.L., VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

YA-Kort provides concise biographical and critical summaries of more than 150 writers and their work. Entries include a range of authors, both historical and contemporary, from Anne Bradstreet to Maxine Hong Kingston. Popular writers such as Sue Grafton, Ursula Le Guin, and Sara Paretsky, and women who were born in other countries but have made their home in the United States are also included. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, plays, and essays, as well as editorial work are all represented. The author has included a few quotes to show styles or comments of critics. The alphabetic arrangement, readable style, and three subject indexes (genre, subject and region, and birthdate) make this volume accessible to students. Although it is not as scholarly as Cynthia Davis and Kathryn West's Women Writers in the United States (Oxford, 1996), it does offer plenty of good background information.-Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Following the format of other volumes in this publisher's series, Kort selects 150 American women writers from Colonial times to the present based on various criteria: genres, backgrounds, and accessibility. Minorities and popular mystery writers are represented. Entries vary in length from several columns to several pages. All include additional readings, and some have a black-and-white photograph of the author. Kort includes a bibliography of sources on American women writers, lists of entries by literary genre, and year of birth and alphabetical indexes. There is some duplication with Great Women Writers, ed. by Frank N. Magill (CH, Nov'94), which covers other countries as well, and even more duplication with Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States, ed. by Cathy N. Davidson et al., (CH, May'95), which is broader in scope with articles on special periods and topics. Almost all the women Kort includes are found in American Women Writers, ed. by Lina Mainiero (5v., 1979-94), but its entries are more critical than biographical. Gale's database Literature Resource Center (CH, Dec'99) is another source of information. Although this is an attractive volume and reasonably priced, it is not essential. Recommended for undergraduate collections and community colleges. T. M. Racz; Eastern Michigan University



In the canon of American literature, most of the writers traditionally included have almost always been men. In A to Z of American Women Writers, this common mispercerption is dispelled as more than 150 women, whose works span four centuries and have greatly influenced American writing, are profiled. Although this list of women is by no means exhaustive, the writers profiled represent a great diversity in the time periods during which they lived, and their genres, writing styles, and subject matters. Each profile features: An in-depth examination of its subject's biography Literary and personal influences as well as a discussion of each writer's major works A further reading section at the end of the profile listing sources for further study on the author or her works. Three subject indexes--one by genre, another by the dates of birth, and a third by theme are included, with a general index. Profiles include: Mary Rowlandson: Nonfiction writer Harriet Beecher Stowe: Novelist Harriet A. Jacobs: Autobiographer Nellie Bly: Journalist Pearl S. Buck: Novelist and Autobiographer Dorothy Parker: Critic, Short Story Writer, and Poet Toni Morrison: Novelist and Essayist Joan Didion: Novelist, Essayist, and Journalist Maxine Hong Kingston: Novelist and Memoirist Rita Dowe: Poet and Short Story Writer. Excerpted from A to Z of American Women Writers by Carol Kort All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.