Friday, August 14, 2015

Quote of the Day (Russell Baker, on How He Became a Writer)

“The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any.”— Russell Baker, Growing Up (1982)

The wry tone in this quote helped Russell Baker—born on this date 90 years ago in Morrisonville, Va. —win the Pulitzer Prize twice—not only in the biography category for the first volume of his memoirs, Growing Up, but also in 1979 in the commentary category, for his columns in The New York Times.

Baker’s stint with the Times occupied the bulk of his career (he joined its Washington bureau in 1954 and wrote his column from 1962 to 1998). Even in retirement, he has managed to stay busy, succeeding Alistair Cooke as host of Masterpiece Theatre from 1992 to 2004 and contributing the occasional piece to The New York Review of Books more recently.

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