How would you like to be the author that finishes a story started by Louisa May Alcott? And be published in a prominent magazine? Read on …
Many of you are probably aware of a story written by then 17-year-old Louisa May Alcott uncovered at the Houghton Library and published in the current issue of The Strand. Besides the obvious interest in an early story from the then budding author, there is the intrique surrounding the abrut ending to the story which leaves the reader dangling!
The managing editor of The Strand, Andrew Gulli, has offered an ingenious solution by inviting writers to finish the story; the winner’s entry will be publishsed in a future of the magazine.
You can find out more by reading my article written for BookTrib.com featuring commentary from Daniel Shealy, John Matteson, Jan Turnquist and Harriet Reisen:
“Aunt Nellie’s Diary,” a newly discovered work by a teenaged Louisa May Alcott, has been published for the first time in the current issue of The Strand. The only problem? Alcott abandoned the story at a crucial moment, leaving the reader dangling with the final line, “I begged and prayed that she would …”
The story (and its origins) tantalizes fans of Little Women and Alcott scholars alike — as well as writers eager to try their hand at finishing the tale. (More on this in a bit.)
In his introduction to the story, Alcott scholar Professor Daniel Shealy says, “‘Aunt Nellie’s Diary’ … reveals the influences that sparked Alcott’s imagination and shows us an emerging talent on the cusp of a promising career at age 17.” She already had the mindset of a serious writer and understood how to create a page-turner, building the suspense to a big reveal. “Alcott, like any professional author, knew how to reach her reading audience,” Shealy writes.
My thanks to the scholars for their contributions and quick responses under a short deadline. The Alcott Scholar community is the best!
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