December 30, 2020
2020 was a year of great loss for many, and the literary world was no exception. Over the past year, we lost a diverse group of authors whose craft made a tremendous impact on their readers in different ways. Donna Kauffman’s romances made us swoon. Mary Higgins Clark, the Queen of Suspense, made our hearts race. Terry Goodkind’s fantasy novels and Ben Bova’s science fiction books took us to faraway worlds.
Some wrote scores of books, like adventure novelist Clive Cussler and beloved children’s author and illustrator Tomie dePaola. German literary academic Ruth Kluger’s book Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered, an unforgettable memoir of life under the Third Reich, was her single bestseller.
Some of their works came to life beyond the page. The author of The Graduate, Charles Webb, saw his book made into a film of the same name in 1967 starring Dustin Hoffman, but spent the rest of his life running from its fame. Joanna Cole’s Magic School Bus series was made into a popular children’s television series and was also made into a video game. Winston Groom, whose work primarily consisted of historic nonfiction books, saw his novel Forrest Gump made into an Academy Award-winning film.
We are fortunate that each of these authors leaves behind a body of work that we—and future readers (perhaps some not even yet born!)—can continue to appreciate for years to come. So, while we are sad to lose them, we can continue to celebrate these writers’ legacies by enjoying their work.
Here are just a few of the authors we lost in 2020. You can explore their work through the Library’s collection.
- Patricia Bosworth (adult nonfiction)
- Ben Bova (science fiction)
- Betsy Byars (children’s fiction series)
- Marion Chesney (M.C. Beaton) (adult fiction)
- Mary Higgins Clark (mystery/thriller)
- Joanna Cole (children’s fiction)
- Stanley Crouch (adult nonfiction)
- Clive Cussler (adult fiction)
- Tomie dePaola (children’s fiction and nonfiction)
- Terry Goodkind (fantasy)
- Bette Greene (children’s fiction)
- Winston Groom (adult nonfiction and fiction)
- Roger Kahn (nonfiction sports)
- Donna Kauffman (romance)
- Ruth Kluger (adult nonfiction)
- John Le Carre (mystery/thriller)
- Barbara Neely (mystery)
- Charles Portis (adult fiction)
- Richard Reeves (adult nonfiction)
- Jill Paton Walsh (mystery)
- Charles Webb (fiction)
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