Kathryn Stockett was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in English and Creative Writing, she moved to New York City, where she worked in magazine publishing and marketing for nine years before her career in writing.
She is known for her debut novel, The Help (2009). It is based in the 1960s and revolves around African-American maids working for white people, the book was also made into a movie.
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Kathryn Stockett discusses her first novel, The Help
What was the genesis of the novel?
Growing up in Mississippi, almost every family I knew had a black woman working in their housecooking, cleaning, and taking care of the white children. That was life in Mississippi. I was young and assumed thats how most of America lived.
When I moved to New York, though, I realized my normal wasnt quite the same as the rest of Americas. I knew a lot of Southerners in the city, and every now and then wed talk about what we missed from the South. Inevitably, somebody would start talking about the maid they grew up with, some little thing that made us all rememberAlices good hamburgers or riding in the back seat to take Willy May home. Everybody had a story to tell.
Twenty years later, with a million things to do in New York City, there we were still talking about the women whod raised us in our mamas kitchens. It was probably on one of those late nights, homesick, when I realized I wanted to write about those relationships from my childhood.
Tell us about your own family maid and your familys relationship with her.
My grandmothers ...
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