Edna Ferber

A picture of the author Edna Ferber

Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Edna Ferber (1885 - 1968) wrote short stories, plays and novels, many of which became popular feature films and musicals. Her novel Giant (1952) was adapted as a blockbuster Hollywood movie in 1956 starred Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. So Big (1924) earned her a Pulitzer Prize and was adapted into at least three movies: a silent picture that same year, then a movie in 1932 starring Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent and Bette Davis. We feature Ferber in Pulitzer Prize Winners.

Edna Ferber, Giant movieThe most popular version was the 1953 movie, starring Jane Wyman and Sterling Hayden. Show Boat (1926) was adapted into an surprisingly serious, long-running musical first performed in 1927, and Cimarron (1929), won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1931. It was a "pre-code" Western; after sound was introduced to film, but before movie content was regulated. There were plenty of scantily clad females and provocative situations to keep movie goers captivated until films were regulated in 1932. Ferber had a knack for writing sizzling novels which adapted into popular hits on the big screen.

Ferber's work generally featured strong female protagonists, supported by characters who had to overcome some form of discrimination, or who weren't the "pretty people." She tended to favor these characters the most, perhaps as a result of her straight-forward midwestern upbringing. Ferber spent her early years in Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin, attended Lawrence University briefly, then became a reporter. She covered both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions for the United Press Association before turning to writing her popular novels.

Ferber never married, had children, or known romantic relationships. As one of her characters states in her early novel Dawn O'Hara (1911): "Being an old maid was a great deal like death by drowning — a really delightful sensation when you ceased struggling."

We feature many of Ferber's short stories from her eclectic and entertaining collection, Buttered Side Down (1912).

facebook share button twitter share button google plus share button tumblr share button reddit share button share by email button share on pinterest pinterest

Anton Chekhov
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Susan Glaspell
Mark Twain
Edgar Allan Poe
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
Herman Melville
Stephen Leacock
Kate Chopin
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson