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M. E. Kerr
Marijane Meaker (1927) is an American novelist and writer of short stories, she writes in several genres, using different pen names. Meaker grew up in a house filled with books and was fascinated by writers and the concept of writing. She was particularly interested in the idea of a pseudonym: that one could invent a new name and a new personality with each name.
Meaker sold her first story to ‘Ladies' Home Journal’ under the name Laura Winston for what she thought was $75.00 US; her roommate at the time had to point out that it was actually $750.00 US. From 1952 to 1969 she wrote twenty mystery and crime novels as Vin Packer; this included 'Spring Fire', the novel credited with launching the genre of lesbian pulp fiction (although few of Packer's books actually address homosexuality or feature gay characters). Using her own observations of lesbians in the ‘50s and ‘60s, she wrote a series of nonfiction books as Ann Aldrich between 1955 and 1972. In 1972 she once more switched genres and pen names to write for young adults; she became quite successful as M.E. Kerr (a phonetic play on her last name), producing over 20 novels and winning multiple awards including the American Library Association's lifetime award for young-adult literature, the ALA Margaret Edwards Award. Then as Mary James, she wrote four books for younger children; it was not until 1994, after the publication of the third Mary James novel, that the covers indicated that the author was also known as M. E. Kerr.
Regardless of genre or pen name, Meaker’s books always contain: strong characters with complicated relationships and problems, railing against conformity. Meaker has said about this, 'I was a bookworm and a poetry lover. When I think of myself and what I would have liked to have found in books those many years ago, I remember being depressed by all the neatly tied-up, happy-ending stories, the abundance of winners, the themes of winning, solving, finding — when around me it didn't seem that easy. So I write with a different feeling when I write for young adults. I guess I write for myself at that age'
In her early life, Meaker dated men, despite knowing she was a lesbian, she felt it was expected of her by her family and friends. 'I dealt with it by playing the game: dating, going steady with a serviceman I really liked, but not 'that way' and in general coping as we all had to do by behaving like everyone else.' Meaker was involved romantically with the author Patricia Highsmith for two years. She wrote about their relationship in her 2003 nonfiction memoir, 'Highsmith: A Romance of the 1950s'.
See also Patricia Highsmith and Ann Bannon.
‘Marijane Meaker’, Wikipedia, retrieved 7 October 2014
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