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Marion Meade on Biography in the Age of Twitter

marionmeade.jpgIn a world overloaded with 140-character tweets, it sometimes seems like the patient art of the long biography could become obsolete. Instead of complaining, one biographer took her subject straight to Twitter.

Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu (MP3 link)was Marion Meade, the critically acclaimed biographer of Dorothy Parker, Woody Allen, and Buster Keaton. She spoke about her new biography: Lonelyhearts: The Screwball World of Nathanael West and Eileen McKenney. During the interview, she talked about how she created a Twitter page for the dead novelist, wrote her biography proposal, and built a career as a biographer.

Follow this MP3 link to listen.

Here’s an excerpt about her Twitter page for the author: “I was looking for a way for people to remember West. So last year around June, he opened a Twitter account. He’s been Twittering ever since from his current location… in Mount Zion Cemetery [in Queens] … A lot of publishing people followed him because they got the joke. But a lot of people followed him who didn’t get the joke…I think he would have thought it was a lot of fun and crazy. He loved things that were crazy.”


Here’s more about Meade’s career: “I started out as an investigative reporter, and one thing kind of led to the other. I think the skills I learned as a journalist are absolutely necessary for someone who wants to write a biography…Biography is a thankless profession. This book took me, from the time I got the contract until today, six years. You have to have a lot of concentration to stick with a subject that long.”

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