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March 16, 2013

Cooper named to N.Y. Writers Hall of Fame

James Fenimore Cooper was 1 year old when his father, a U.S. congressman, moved his family to the frontier settlement (now Cooperstown) he had founded in upstate New York.

The Empire State Center for the Book recently announced the novelist will be inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame. He will be enshrined along with seven other writers June 4 at the Princeton Club of New York City.

The Center for the Book oversees the hall of fame. Among those who selected Cooper and the other writers for inclusion is Bertha Rogers of Treadwell, executive director of Bright Hill Press and creator of the New York State Literary website and map. Writers Calvin Trillin, Alice McDermott, Marilyn Hacker and Walter Mosley are expected to be at the induction. Other deceased writers honored include Countee Cullen, Miguel Pinero and Maurice Sendak.

Cooper was born in Burlington, N.J., on Sept. 15, 1789, and died Sept. 14, 1851, at his home in Cooperstown, one day shy of his 62nd birthday. Some refer to him as the first American novelist. In his lifetime, he wrote 32 novels. “The Leatherstocking Tales” account for five of these novels about pioneer life.

According to, Cooper’s most popular work, “The Last of the Mohicans,” has remained one of the most widely read novels throughout the world, and it, along with the other four novels that make up “The Leatherstocking Tales,” has influenced cultural perceptions of American Indians and the frontier period of American history. 

The other 2013 inductees are as follows:

Countee Cullen (1903-46), an American poet who was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance.

Marilyn Hacker (1942), an American poet, translator and critic. She is best known for formal poems that mix high culture and colloquial speech.

Alice McDermott (1953), an American novelist. Her 1998 novel “Charming Billy” won an American Book Award and the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. In 2006 she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for “After This.”

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