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Happy Birthday To White Plains’ Alison Lurie

Alison Lurie
Alison Lurie Photo Credit:

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Happy Birthday to White Plains’ Alison Lurie!

Alison Lurie, who grew up in White Plains, turns 90 on Saturday.

Lurie, a novelist and academic, was born Sept. 3, 1926, in Chicago. She won the Pulitzer Prize for her 1984 novel "Foreign Affairs." Although better known as a novelist, she has also written numerous non-fiction books and articles, particularly on children's literature and the semiotics of dress. In 1981, Lurie published "The Language of Clothes." This book lays out some principles of communication by means of dress.

She often reviews literature and children’s culture for the New York Review of Books. In 2001 Lurie published a memoir, "Familiar Spirits," recounting a decades-long friendship with poet James Merrill (1926–1995) and his partner David Jackson (1922–2001). Lurie credits Merrill and Jackson for encouraging her writing in the 1950s, a period during which she suffered many rejections from publishers.

Some of her awards include the following:

  • 1963-1964 Yaddo Foundation fellow.
  • 1965 Guggenheim Foundation fellow.
  • 1966 Yaddo Foundation fellow.
  • 1967 Rockefeller Foundation fellow.
  • 1978 American Academy of Arts and Letters literary award.
  • 1985 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
  • 1989 Prix Femina Étranger.
  • 2005 elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • 2006 University of Oxford honorary degree.
  • 2007 University of Nottingham honorary degree.
  • 2012-14 New York State Author.
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