Carson McCullers was born in Columbus, Georgia, on February 19, 1917. She died at age fifty in Nyack, New York, on September 29, 1967. A promising pianist, she had hoped to enroll at the Juilliard School of Music when she was seventeen, but when she arrived in New York, she attended writing classes at Columbia University instead. In December 1936 her first story, "Wunderkind," was published in "Story" magazine. That winter she began work on "The Mute," which would become her enduring masterpiece, "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter."