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Name McHugh, Arona
Born / Died 1926–1996

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Dubbed “a born storyteller” by The New York Times Book Review, Arona McHugh (1924 – 1996) worked as a librarian before embarking on a literary career that included four novels, including the best-selling A Banner With a Strange Device (Doubleday, 1964).

Born Arona Lipman in Boston, Massachusetts on August 8, 1924, she attended Suffolk University before serving in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II and in occupied Germany. Returning the United States, she enrolled at the writing program at the University of Iowa and graduated in 1950 as a member of one of the first groups to complete that program. Several months after graduation, she married folk artist Warren J. McHugh. In 1951, she earned a degree in library science from Columbia University and found employment in the children’s division of the New York Public Library.

McHugh and her family divided their time between home in the City and Sag Harbor, where she completed work on her first novel, A Banner With a Strange Device, set in her native Boston and focusing on a group of returning soldiers and the women in their lives. The novel received critical praise and was both a Literary Guild selection and a best seller. Its success spawned a sequel, The Seacoast of Bohemia (Doubleday, 1965).

It was four years before McHugh published her third novel, the historical The Luck of the Van Meers: A Tradition (Doubleday, 1969), which traced the fortunes of a Dutch Jewish family over several generations. Her fourth and final published novel was The Calling of the Mercenaries (Doubleday, 1973), set in occupied Germany just after World War II.

McHugh, who served as a lecturer in creative writing at Georgetown, succumbed to cardiac arrest on May 15, 1996 in Staten Island, New York at the age of 71.

Library of Congress Subject Headings Women authors, American.
Women novelists, American.
American literature -- 20th century.
American literature -- Women authors.
New School for Social Research (New York, N.Y.)

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