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In Memoriam: Writers We Lost In 2016

In 2016 we said good-bye to many talented, unforgettable authors. Together with the entire literary community, we take a moment to mourn the loss of these gifted individuals. This tribute does not include every great writer who left us in the past year, so in the comment section below, please share the names of any other noteworthy authors who passed on.


Margaret Forster (77) “I write in the morning, I walk in the afternoon and I read in the evening. It’s a very easy, lovely life.”


Nelle Harper Lee (89) “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”


Umberto Eco (84) “You die, but most of what you have accumulated will not be lost; you are leaving a message in a bottle.”


Pat Conroy (70) “Writing is more about imagination than anything else. I fell in love with words. I fell in love with storytelling.”


Jim Harrison (78) “I write novellas because I don’t like loose sprawling prose.”


Lois Duncan (82) “Sit down every day and DO IT. Writing is a self-taught craft; the more you work at it, the more skilled you become. And when you’re not writing, READ.”


Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel (87) “Our obligation is to give meaning to life and in doing so to overcome the passive, indifferent life.”


James Alan McPherson (72) “At the basis of love…must live imagination.”


Gloria Naylor (66) “Not only is your story worth telling, but it can be told in words so painstakingly eloquent that it becomes a song.”


William Trevor (88) “There is an element of autobiography in all fiction in that pain or distress, or pleasure, is based on the author’s own. But in my case that is as far as it goes.”


E.R. Braithwaite (104) “So long as we learn it doesn’t matter who teaches us, does it?”


Richard Adams (96) “Our children’s children will hear a good story.”


Carrie Fisher (60) “There is no point at which you can say, ‘Well, I’m successful now. I might as well take a nap.'”

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10 Responses to In Memoriam: Writers We Lost In 2016

  1. It’s a shame that John Gresham, Military author and Historian, was left off these lists. He was one of the very few left in this country who really knew our history. Not only was he a great writer, he was a wonderful friend. He will be sadly missed.

  2. My beloved friend and teacher actress and author Laurie Carlos. She is remembered as one of the original cast members in Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls.

    Poet and visual artist Monica Hand. She was the author of Me and Nina.

  3. So many, from Pat Conroy to Richard Adams. All the rest, too. I was reminded by Gloria Naylor’s quote that her feelings are the same as Dana Gioia’s. Poetry, when well written, does become song. I suppose that if we are successful other people hear what is ringing or singing within our own imagination and experience.

  4. I loved Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. The slight nod to Sherlock Holmes in the beginning to the unforgettable fire in the end.

  5. Each one that I read their words have been inspirational. My main writing is in Welsh, but I also read widely in English as well as writing in the language which has provided me with so much information ever since I learned it as a second language.

  6. Peter Schaffer also died. He was the playwright responsible for “Amadeus” and “Equus”. He died on the 6th of June, 2016; aged 90.

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