Lit Matters: How HARRIET THE SPY Taught Me to Be A Writer (and a Spy)

I have taken classes from Erika Krouse for…gasp…7 years. I hope to take classes from her for another 7 years. Not only is she a great writer, teacher, mentor and friend, but she is a blazing soul.

Her collection of short stories, “Come Up and See Me Sometime”(Scribner), won the Paterson Fiction Award, was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book of the year, and has been translated into six languages. Her new novel, Contenders, will be published by Rare Bird Books in 2015.

The Lighthouse Writers Top-Secret Blog

by Erika Krouse

Harriet the Spy coverI was a lonely, desperate kid, so I read obsessively. All that reading probably made me lonelier and more desperate, because I read instead of talking to people, or washing my hair, or learning how to say cool things. I took baths instead of showers so I could read uninterrupted (see above, dirty hair). I read books until they fell apart, and then read them again. And the book that I read to its most tattered state was Harriet the Spy.

It’s not that I liked it. In fact, if you take a long, cool look at the eleven-year-old Harriet M. Welsch, she’s a bitch. She writes mean things about everyone, even her best friends. She’s in love with herself. She abuses servants, and has a hefty dose of entitlement (“Why don’t we have a cook?” I asked my mother after reading Harriet the Spy for…

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