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Participant name: Amy Reading
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Amy Reading
Unaffiliated independent scholar
A Literary Biography of Katharine S. White (1892-1977), Editor of The New Yorker

Completion of a biography of Katharine S. White (1892-1977), writer and editor for The New Yorker.

Katharine S. White Edits The New Yorker is a literary biography of the unheralded woman behind the scenes of one of the most important magazines of the century, a woman who cultivated dozens of the writers whose works have created the American reader as we know her. White began at The New Yorker a few months after it started in 1925 and retired in 1961, along the way editing everyone from John O’Hara to John Updike, with the likes of Vladimir Nabokov and Edmund Wilson in between. But she did her best work by publishing a distinctive list of women writers whose careers were made at The New Yorker: Janet Flanner, Mary McCarthy, Elizabeth Bishop, Jean Stafford, Nadine Gordimer. This biography will tell how White invented the role of fiction editor, how her experience as an urban working mother influenced her curation of the magazine, and how The New Yorker contributed to the lavish growth of American literature in the 20th century.

Project fields:
American Literature; Women's History


Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
2/1/2020 – 1/31/2021