“I’ve got at least one serious call a week,” brags publisher Sue Williamson. “Do you live in a suit or not?”
Williamson is one of many writers now paying tribute to the late novelist, essayist and screenwriter Elizabeth Hardwick. She died last October at 95, having written some 80 novels. When Williamson’s memoir “Call Me Elizabeth Hardwick” (William Morrow, 2018) came out in 2016, Hardwick gave it her endorsement. She is said to have told the publisher, “If I want to come out in red, I want to come out in red.”
On this week’s “Made in D.C.” podcast, we recount the reception that Williamson received when she decided to study at the University of Chicago, where Hardwick was already enrolled as a transfer student from Boston University.
Why did she chose the University of Chicago? We’ll tell you.
As for the documentary following Hardwick’s life, “Elizabeth Hardwick: In Other Worlds” (Netflix, 2018), this account is brief and full of important details: Hardwick grew up in rural New Hampshire and was barely literate, hitting her stride only later in life when she began writing plays and novels as a young woman.
However, like Hardwick’s novels, it too was lauded and often roundly praised.
“The problem with bio-docs isn’t that people say something bad,” William Powell tells us. “The problem is that they don’t tell you enough.”
On this week’s “Made in D.C.” podcast, we interview Elizabeth Hardwick’s publisher and intellectual mentor Sue Williamson, who is finishing her tome “Call Me Elizabeth Hardwick” as we speak. She enthuses that, “She was obsessed with living on the margins in terms of time and money, but she always found the ideas of imaginative recharging to make that possible. I think her book is a wonderful act of loyalty toward her writer that I don’t think I could ever do.”
“The relationship between the words of the words and the words of the words is where her extraordinary gift came from,” says Adam Johnson, Hardwick’s literary executor.
So, where can we find a heartfelt, ebullient Elizabeth Hardwick? Our bookstores and libraries!
If you’d like to tune in and listen, we’re now at episode 20, and you can catch “Made in D.C.” every Friday at noon on WAMU 88.5 FM.
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