Most avid readers have, at one time or another, wished they could reach out to their favorite dead author for advice or comment. And now, as author Ellen Meister (Farewell, Dorothy Parker), let’s us know, through the wonders of social media, we can all fulfill that wish.
Meister’s experience with dead authors is up close and personal. Her charming novel, published earlier this year by Putnam, resurrects the ghost of writer Dorothy Parker against a contemporary New York backdrop. Publishers Weekly said that “Meister skillfully translates the rapier-like wit of the Algonquin Round Table to modern-day New York … [with] pathos, nuanced characters, plenty of rapid-fire one-liners, and a heart-rending denouement.”
In preparing for the publication of her novel, Meister got the idea to start a Facebook group in her dead heroine’s voice. “My idea was simple,” Meister writes in the Huffington Post. “I would post daily quotes and poems by the great wit, and, with any luck, uncover a few hundred people who loved her as much as I did.”
Beyond her wildest expectations, within two years the Facebook group had more than 70,000 followers. A number which, if nothing else, proves that the ghosts of dead literary stars can still draw a crowd.
The Huffington Post’s list of 10 “Dead Authors with Active social media profiles” includes Edgar Allan Poe, Jane Austen, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Mark Twain. All of them inhabit the hallowed halls of Facebook and Twitter where @IAM_SHAKESPEARE keeps up a constant rant of… stuff. (“Tell you I do not nor I cannot love you?”) or Laura Ingalls Wilder, tweets as @HalfPintIngalls, with less frequency than Wills, but much higher quality. (“Oh BLAST IT I forgot it’s Almanzo’s birthday! NO IDEA how to gift-wrap this Morgan horse.”)