Alison Lurie was born in Chicago on September 3, 1926. She attended Radcliffe College, where she received an A.B. degree in 1947. The following year she married Jonathan Peale Bishop, Jr., who went on to become a professor of English at Cornell University. Before their divorce in 1985, the Bishops had three sons, John, Jeremy, and Joshua.
Lurie’s first book was a privately printed memoir of a close friend, poet and playwright Violet Lang, but her first significant work of fiction was Love and Friendship (1962), a novel that contains the themes of domestic dissatisfaction and adultery that Lurie would continue to explore in later work. Its principal character, Emily Stockwell Turner, is the prototype of Katherine Cattleman, Erica Tate, and the other unfulfilled, frustrated, middle-class American women who populate Lurie’s narratives.
In addition to being a housewife and mother and working occasionally as a ghostwriter and librarian, Lurie continued to publish her novels, gaining more critical acclaim and a wider readership with each one: The Nowhere City (1965), Imaginary Friends (1967), and Real People (1969). Moreover, she began to garner fellowships and grants that helped further her career as a writer: Yaddo fellowships in 1963, 1964, and 1966 (Yaddo, an artist’s colony, gave Lurie material for Real People); a Guggenheim grant in 1965-1966; and a Rockefeller Foundation grant in 1967-1968....
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