Author. Born Lula Carson Smith in Columbus, Georgia, as a child she hoped to be a pianist, but illness left her unable to finish her training. In 1934 she traveled to New York City, where she intended to study at the Juilliard School of Music , instead, she took classes in creative writing at Columbia University. At 19, her first story, “Wunderkind,” was published in “Story” magazine. In September 1937, she married James Reeves McCullers, a relationship that proved stormy; plagued by chronic alcoholism, jealousy, and infidelity, ending with his suicide some 15 years later. In 1940, she achieved both critical and commercial success with her first novel, “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.” It was followed in 1941, with the less well received “Reflections in a Golden Eye.” “The Ballad of the Sad Café,” a story published in Harper’s Bazaar in 1943, is considered by some to be one of her best works. The novella, “The Member of the Wedding, “ appeared in 1946, to critical success. The following year, she suffered two strokes, four months apart, which left her paralyzed on one side. Her friend, Tennessee Williams, developed a stage adaptation of “The Member of the Wedding,” and in 1950, the play opened on Broadway to win the Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play of the year, and the Donaldson Award for best play and best first play by an author. In 1957, her play, “The Square Root of Wonderful,” opened on Broadway, but proved unsuccessful, closing after only 45 performances. In 1954, she was hospitalized for both cancer treatment and surgery for repairs on her paralyzed hand. Her novel, “Clock Without Hands,” was published in 1961, making almost no impact with either readers or critics, leading to a depression. What was to become her last publication, was a volume of children's verse, “Sweet as a Pickle and Clean as a Pig” was published in 1964. At age 50, she suffered a final stroke, which left her comatose for forty-six days. She died without regaining consciousness. At the time of her death, she was at work on an autobiography, "Illumination and Night Glare.” Both “Reflections in a Golden Eye” and “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” have been adapted as motion pictures.
Bio by: Iola
James Reeves McCullers