Information Update - Spring 2000

The University of Scranton To Honor Mary Higgings Clark & Carol Higgins Clark

Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark, authors of many best-selling hooks, will receive the Distinguished Author Award from The University of Scranton's Friends of the Weinberg Memorial Library on Saturday, 23 September on the University campus.
Born and raised in New York, Mary Higgins Clark considers her Irish heritage an important influence on her writing, The Irish are, by nature, storytellers," she says. Her father died when she was ten, and her mother struggled to bring up Mary and her two brothers. After graduating from high school, Mary went to secretarial school so that she could get a job and help her mother with the family finances. After working for three years in an advertising agency, travel fever seized her, and for the year 1949 she became a stewardess on Pan American Airlines' international flights to see the world. "My run was Europe, Africa and Asia," she recalls. "I was in a revolution in Syria and on the last flight into Czechoslovakia before the Iron Curtain went down. 1 new for a year and then got married."
She married a neighbor, Warren Clark, nine years her senior, who she had known since she was 16. Soon after her marriage, Mrs. Clark started writing short stories, and sold her first short story to Extension Magazine in 1956 for $100, after six years and forty rejection slips. "I framed that first letter of acceptance," she recalls.
Left a young widow with five children by the death of her husband from a heart attack in 1964, Mrs. Clark went to work writing radio scripts and, in addition, decided to write books. Every morning, she got up at 5 and wrote until 7, when she had to get the kids ready for school.
Her first book was a biographical novel about the life of George Washington, Aspire to the Heavens. it was remaindered as it came off the press," she says of her first try. Next, she decided to write a suspense novel, Where Are the Children, which became a bestseller and marked a turning point in her life and career.
Mary Higgins Clark decided to take time for things she had always wanted to do. So far, she had put all her energies into her children's education. Now she was going to catch up on her own. In 1974, she entered Fordham University at Lincoln Center and was graduated summa cum laude in 1979 with a B.A. in philosophy. In May 1988, she returned to her alma mater as commencement speaker. Today, she is a trustee of Fordham University and a member of the Board of Regents at St. Peter's College, and she has thirteen honorary doctorates, including one from The University of Scranton.
Mary Higgins Clark married John J, Conheeney, retired Merrill Lynch Futures CEO, on 30 November 1996. They now live in Saddle River, New Jersey; they also have an apartment in Manhattan and summer homes in Spring Lake, New Jersey, and Dennis, Massachusetts. Between them, they have a large family; Mary Higgins Clark has five children and six grandchildren, and her husband has four children and nine grandchildren.
More than twenty million copies of Mary Higgins Clark's hooks are in print in the United Stares alone, and many of her books have been made into films or made-for-television movies.Her works include: A Stranger Is Watching, The Cradle Will Fall, I'll Be Seeing You, Remember Me, Let Me Call You Sweetheart, Moonlight Becomes You, We'll Meet Again, and Before I Say Good-bye (expected in April 2000).
In accounting for her huge success, Mary Higgins Clark has said. "I write for the mainstream. I write about nice people not looking for trouble. They find evil in their own car, home, everyday life .... Through their own courage and intelligence they work their way through to deliverance." Having begun her writing career as a newly widowed mother of five, Mary has instilled her passion for suspense stories in her children, especially her daughter Carol Higgins Clark who has penned several hest-selling mystery novels featuring Regan Reilly, namely Decked, Snagged, Iced, and Twanged.
Carol Higgins Clark is a writer and actress who has starred in television, film, and theater productions, including the 1992 television movie A Cry in the Night, based on a novel by her mother. All of the Regan Reilly hooks have been New York Times bestsellers, and Decked was nominated for both an Agatha and Anthony Awards for Best First Novel. Twanged was a main selection of the Mystery Guild and a Featured Alternate of the Literary Guild. Carol Higgins Clark is a graduate of Mt. Holyoke College and lives in New York. Her books offer a light, easy read with a good sense of humor (especially when you consider that her Private Detective Regan Reilly character is the daughter of a famous writer). Besides being an author and also an accomplished actress, she is the voice behind many of her mother's books on tape.
A Meet the Authors Reception and presentation of the Distinguished Author Award will be held in Eagen Auditorium. Event proceeds will benefit the Friends of the Library Endowment, which supports special gifts to library collections and services.
Jack Palance, the Emmy, Oscar and Golden Globe winning actor and author, received the inaugural Distinguished Author Award in 1997, and Malachy McCourt, the author of A Monk Swimming, received the second in 1999.
The Friends of the Weinberg Memorial Library was formed in 1994 to bring together people who have a mutual love of books and reading and to support projects to benefit the Library.

Charles Kratz