Posted on 02/15/2019 at 10:18 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

We hate to be downers, but death is one of the few things in life that are certain.

And there’s been quite a bit of it in the literary world the past week or two.

The most recent one is British author Andrea Levy, who died yesterday at the age of sixty-two.

Levy’s award-winning novels, including Small Island and The Long Song, chronicled the black experience in Britain, often in the years after World War II but sometimes in colonial times as well.

Read her obituary on the BBC’s website.

Tomi Ungerer, an illustrator and author who worked on more than 140 books for a variety of ages, died February 8. He was eighty-seven.

He gained acclaim for his children’s books in the late 1950s, but his political and suggestive works (including but not limited to 1969’s Fornicon) led to his ouster from youth-lit circles.

Read Ungerer’s obituary in the New York Times.

Heidi Toffler, whose writing for years was uncredited, died February 6. She was eighty-nine.

She and her husband, Alvin, were known for about a dozen books on the future of human society as technology rapidly changed, including the bestsellers Future Shock and The Third Wave.

Only his name appeared on the books until the 1990s, however.

Read Heidi Toffler’s obituary in the Washington Post.

Anne Firor Scott, celebrated for a work exploring a century of Southern women’s history, died on February 5 at age ninety-seven.

The Southern Lady: From Pedestal to Politics, 1830-1930 came out in 1970 and was credited with inspiring much more academic work into women’s history.

President Barack Obama awarded Scott the National Humanities Medal in 2013 for it and subsequent works. Read Scott’s obituary in the Washington Post.

Jan Wahl, author of more than 100 children’s books, died January 29 at the age of eighty-seven.

His works were illustrated by the likes of Maurice Sendak, Norman Rockwell, Garth Williams, and Edward Gorey, which (per the New York Times) was a testament to his story-telling abilities.

Read his obituary in the Times.

Lili Wronker, a celebrated illustrator and calligrapher, died January 10 at the age of ninety-four.  

She and her family immigrated to the United States in 1940 from England, to which they’d fled from Germany as the Nazis rose to power.

Wronker went on to become a freelance artist, with her first project — illustrations for The Rainbow Mother Goose — landing on a list of the top fifty books of the year in 1947.

Her work also appeared on the insides of many dust jackets for books she’d also illustrated.

Read Wronker’s obituary in the New York Times.

The oldest member of this roundup, C.Y. Lee, died at age 102 on November 8, though the family just recently decided to make the news public.

Lee’s debut novel, The Flower Drum Song, became one of the first commercial successes by a Chinese-American author in the U.S. (Lee came to the United States from China during World War II.)

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein later adapted the bestselling book into a musical; it also became a movie, which received mixed reviews.

Read Lee’s obituary from the Associated Press on NBC’s website.

Categories: Today in Books

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