(1917—1967) American writer
was born in Georgia, where most of her works are set, although she was long resident in New York City. She immediately achieved great critical prominence with her first novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940), in which a deaf-mute in a Southern town loses his only friend, another mute, and turns to others who give him their confidence, such as a lonely, music-loving girl, a black doctor, and a young radical. It was appreciated for its compassionate treatment of individualism and its sensitive style, and also because it was considered a symbolic commentary on fascism. Her second novel, Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941), is a shorter work, a macabre story of experiences in an army camp in the South before World War II. The Member of the Wedding (1946) with great sensitivity presents the feelings of a 12-year-old girl on the occasion of her brother's impending wedding, and was successfully dramatized by the author in 1950. Her next work was also a play, The Square Root of Wonderful (1958), about the maturing of a woman twice married to and twice deserted by the same husband. Her next novel, Clock Without Hands (1961), set in a small Georgia town, treats the involvements of some whites and a black boy, thereby illuminating her common theme, the discovery of selfhood. The Ballad of the Sad Café (1951) collects stories and novels, the title work being dramatized by Edward Albee (1963), and The Mortgaged Heart (1971) collects early stories.