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Friday, November 03, 2006

WILLIAM STYRON (1925-2006)

This week, its time to remember William Styron. His 1979 novel 'Sophie's Choice' the tragic story of a Polish Holocaust survivor's relationship in Brooklyn with a Virginia writer was made into an acclaimed film starring Meryl Streep. While the film won Streep an Oscar, it threw the novel into the spotlight. Some Holocaust survivors questioned the fact that a non-Jew gave the perspective a death camp survivor, while feminists were up in arms about a man writing telling a woman's story.

But Styron was no stranger to controversy. He's stirred enough of that with 'The Confessions of Nat Turner,' (1967) the story of a slave who led a bloody and disastrous slave insurrection before the Civil War. While the book went on to win the Pulitzer Prize, it was criticised for being tinged with racism.

Among his many fans is former President Bill Clinton, who had made these comments about Styron's writing while he was still in the White House:
"I can tell you that, as a young southerner, the impact of 'The Confessions of Nat Turner' on me was truely stunning and I can say that for a whole generation of us who never quite found the words to give expression to the many things we had imagined until we read the works of William Styron."

In a profound remembrance, Norman Mailer told the New York Times "No other American writer of my generation has had so omnipresent and exquisite a sense of the elegiac."
Styron died of pneumonia in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts aged 81.

Read more about his life here: