The Federal Writers


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Photo: caption follows

Miss Zora Neale Hurston, African-American novelist and anthropologist of New York City and Florida. Photographer unknown. Photograph, 1935. (LC-USZ62-62394).

The Writers' Project provided jobs for a diverse assortment of unemployed white-collar workers including beginning and experienced writers--those who had always been poor and the newly down and out. Among those Federal Writers who went on to gain national literary reputations were novelists Nelson Algren, Saul Bellow and John Cheever, and poet May Swenson. Distinguished African-American writers served literary apprenticeships on the Federal Writers' Project, including Ralph Ellison, Margaret Walker, Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright.


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