Green, Hannah

Born: October 7, 1927
Died: October 16, 1996

Ohio connection: Birth


Hannah Green was born in Cincinnati circa 1927.  Her father, Matthew Addy, was a foreign patent and trademark agent, like the fictional character in The Dead of the House, and her mother, Mary McAlpin Allen, was a homemaker. Green attended Wellesley College, studying with Wallace Stegner and receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1948. She later went to Stanford University, receiving a Master’s degree in 1956. While at Stanford, she studied with the celebrated Russian writer, Vladimir Nabokov.  In 1970, she was hired as a professor by Columbia University, a position that she held until her retirement. She wrote for The New Yorker, and created the The Dead of the House, which was first published, in a shorter form, in The New Yorker.  The novel was published in 1972 and has since been re-published. Green also published a children’s book, In the City of Paris, inspired by a trip made to France with her husband, John Wesley, in the 1970s.  This trip to France also inspired her to write Golden SparkLittle Saint: The Hours of Saint Foy, published in 2000, four years after her death. Visiting a church in Conques in the south of France, Green viewed the bones of Saint Foy, martyred under the Romans centuries ago. The visit was a revelation for Green, who began, according to Robert McG. Thomas Jr., of the New York Times, “writing–and rewriting–a book about the martyred 12-year-old girl who was betrayed by her father, refused to renounce her faith and [was] put to death, inspiring a cult that continues in France.” The book combines fiction with the known facts of St. Foy’s life. Green had several works in progress when she died of lung cancer, October 16, 1996, in New York, NY.

MacDowell Colony fellow, 1960, 1964, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1975, 1978; Ohioana Library Award for the best novel by an Ohioan in 1972, 1973, for The Dead of the House; Creative Artists Public Service Award from New York State Council on the Arts, 1973-74; Mary Elvira Stevens traveling fellowship from Wellesley College, 1974-75; National Endowment for the Arts grant, 1978.