James Matthew Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, was born on May 9, 1860, in Kirriemuir, Angus, Scotland. His idyllic boyhood was shattered by his brother's death when Barrie was six. His own grief and that of his mother influenced the rest of his life. Through his work, he sought to recapture the carefree joy of his first six years. Barrie came to London as a freelance writer in 1885. His early fiction, Auld Licht Idylls (1888) and A Window in Thrums (1889), were inspired by his youth in Kirriemuir. After publishing a biography of his mother Margaret Ogilvy and the autobiographical novel Sentimental Tommy, about a boy living in a dream world (1896), he concentrated on writing plays. The Admirable Crichton (1902), the story of a butler who becomes king of a desert island, helped to establish Barrie's reputation as a playwright. Meanwhile, he began to relive his childhood by telling the first Peter Pan stories to the sons of his friend, Sylvia Llewellyn Davies. The play Peter Pan was first performed in 1904 and published as a novel seven years later. Its imaginative drama, featuring the eternal boy's triumph over the grownup Captain Hook, idealizes childhood and underscores adults' inability to regain it. These resonant themes made it a classic of world literature. Barrie's later work shows his increasingly cynical view of adulthood, particularly in Dear Brutus (1917). Often considered his finest play, it concerns nine men and women whose caprices destroy a miraculous opportunity to relive their lives. Barrie married the former Mary Ansell in 1894. They divorced in 1909, never having any children. Barrie died in London on June 19, 1937.
Erica Jong was born on March 26, 1942. She received a B.A. from Barnard College and a M.A. in 18th Century English Literature from Columbia University. She also attended Columbia University's graduate writing program where she studied poetry. She has written numerous volumes of poetry, novels, and non-fiction works including Fruits and Vegetables, Fear of Flying, How to Save Your Own Life, Parachutes and Kisses, Sappho's Leap, Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life, and It Was Eight Years Ago Today (But It Seems Like Eighty). She has received numerous awards including the United Nations Award for Excellence in Literature, Poetry magazine's Bess Hokin Prize, the Deauville Award for Literary Excellence, and the Sigmund Freud Award for Literature.Novelist Alison Lurie was born September 3, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois to Harry and Bernice Stewart Lurie. She is an American novelist and academic. Lurie won the Pulitzer Prize for her 1984 novel Foreign Affairs. She received an A.B. from Radcliffe College in 1947. After finishing college, Lurie worked as an editorial assistant for Oxford University Press in New York, but she wanted to make a living as a writer. After years of receiving rejection slips, she devoted herself to raising her children. Lurie had taught at Cornell University since 1968, becoming a full professor in 1976 specializing in folklore and children's literature. Lurie's first novel was "Love and Friendship" (1962) and its characters were modeled on friends and colleagues. Afterwards, she published "The Nowhere City" (1965), "Imaginary Friends" (1967), "The War Between the Tates" (1974), which tells of the collapse of a perfect marriage between a professor and his wife, "Only Children" (1979), and "The Truth About Lorin Jones" (1988). "Foreign Affairs" (1984) won the Pulitzer Prize; it tells the story of two academics in England who learn more about love than academia.