Kristin Elaine Eggleston Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

The only child of African American educators George and Mabel Eggleston, Kristin Elaine Hunter was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Camden and Magnolia, New Jersey. She began her writing career at fourteen as a journalist for the Pittsburgh Courier. At the age of twenty she received a B.S. in education from the University of Pennsylvania. She was briefly a third-grade teacher before becoming a copywriter for an advertising agency. She married Joseph Hunter in 1952.{$S[A]Lattany, Kristin Hunter;Hunter, Kristin}

In 1955 Hunter wrote the television script Minority of One, which won the Fund for the Republic Prize. She continued copywriting and published several short stories. She was a research assistant for the University of Pennsylvania during 1961 and 1962, at which time she and her husband were divorced. In 1963 she became information officer for the city of Philadelphia. A year later the novel God Bless the Child was published. Using lyrics from Billie Holiday’s song of the same title to emphasize the tragic elements of ghetto life, it depicts the attempts of Rosie Fleming to escape the inner city to a home of her own. In her pursuit of the American Dream, however, Rosie destroys herself both physically and morally. Obsessed with materialism, she works at two full-time jobs and becomes involved in illegal gambling. Although she moves into a white suburb, her health further declines when she discovers that the house, just like the ghetto apartment, is infested with roaches. Rosie is awakened to her mistakes too late, and she dies as a result. God Bless the Child received the Philadelphia Athenæum Award and won critical acclaim in general. Hunter’s most impressive work, it deserves to be ranked as a minor classic in American literature.

In 1965 the play The Double Edge was produced. The Landlord appeared in 1966. This second novel emphasized a comic presentation of black ghetto life. The tenants of an apartment house fight to save their building from condemnation. Eventually the white landlord becomes involved in his tenants’ lives and joins them in the conflict. Hunter wrote the screenplay for the 1970 film version of The Landlord.

The Soul Brothers and Sister Lou was a successful venture into children’s literature. The novel won the National Council on Interracial Books for Children Award, the Mass Media Brotherhood Award, and the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award. The book concentrates on...

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