Anya Seton

Anya Seton
Anya Seton

Anya Seton

A Writing Life
By Lucinda MacKethan


304 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, PDF, Mobipocket, EPUB

Cloth, $30.00 (CA $40.00) (US $30.00)

ISBN 9781641600866

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Aug 2020)


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A compelling portrait of a deeply dedicated writer whose life was full of inner turmoil 
Anya Seton was the bestselling author of 10 historical novels, including the masterpieces Katherine and The Winthrop Woman, which are still widely beloved over 60 years after their publication; yet there has never before been a book-length biography about this great American writer. Ann Seton was born in 1904 the daughter of two celebrity writers: Ernest Thompson Seton and Grace Gallatin Seton. At age 36 and self-renamed Anya, she placed her first novel with a major publisher. Anya the author was protective of her private life yet also mused, “I suppose I write myself over and over again in my heroines.” She reinvented herself within carefully researched historical settings and biographical materials that provided both escape and wish-fulfillment. In journal entries, letters, and “self-analyses,” she provides an intimate study of what it meant to her to be a writer. She wrote probably her own best epitaph while working on her masterpiece, Katherine: “My forte is story, and a peculiarly meticulous (fearful, yes) desire to weave historical fact into story. Make history come alive and as exciting as the past is to me.”


“Anya Seton is truly one of the most beloved godmothers of women writers of my generation (including me), and this long-overdue biography gives texture and insight into her life, her process, and her books. I grieved for the very real challenges she faced as a woman of letters, and cheered for her triumphs. Kudos to Lucinda H. MacKethan for bringing us this rich, thoughtful material.” —Barbara O'Neal, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids 

“Lucinda MacKethan brings Anya Seton’s creative process to vivid and memorable life, illuminating the thoughts and emotions of an important but perhaps underappreciated writer of historical fiction. Both fans and new initiates to Seton’s work will enjoy this sensitive, thoughtful portrayal. This Writing Life will stick in the reader’s mind long after the book is closed.” —Carrie Callaghan, author of Salt the Snow and A Light of Her Own

“Lucinda H. MacKethan takes a lovely, bold, deep dive into Anya Seton’s writing life, chronicling her passionate longings, tragedies, and triumphs—and, most crucially, the dailiness of writing. Anya Seton is a fascinating quest featuring a real-life heroine who found freedom through fiction—and her identity as a  storyteller—as she struggled to define herself apart from the authorial acclaim of her parents and the rigid labels of society.” —Christina Lane, author of Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan   Harrison, the Forgotten Woman Behind Hitchcock

“The author’s fans will appreciate this workmanlike volume.” —Publishers Weekly

Author Biography

Lucinda H. MacKethan is Alumni Distinguished Professor of English Emerita at North Carolina State University and the author or editor of six books, including Daughters of Time: Creating Women’s Voice in Southern Story and the coedited Companion to Southern Literature