Novelist Sinclair Lewis had been invited to Columbia University to deliver a lecture on the writer’s craft. He stepped up to the podium, looked out at the host of eager young faces, and asked, “How many of you here are really serious about being writers?”
Hands shot up across the lecture hall. Lewis paused, and then said fiercely, “Well then, why the hell aren’t you all home writing?”
And with that he returned to his seat.
Harry Sinclair Lewis (February 7, 1885 – January 10, 1951) was an American novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. In 1930, he became the first writer from the United States to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, “for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humor, new types of characters.” His works are known for their insightful and critical views of American society and capitalist values, as well as for their strong characterizations of modern working women.
He has been honored by the U.S. Postal Service with a Great Americans series postage stamp.