American Writers During the Great Depression
During the Great Depression, American writers were a diverse bunch. The second national Congress of American Writers convened in New York City in 1937, and thousands of writers were turned away due to a lack of space. But despite the great depression’s hardships, many writers remained active. The following are some stories about these writers and the times they lived through. To learn more, read Harvey Swados’s essay on American writers during the Depression.
Many writers of the 1930s were able to continue on their individualistic paths. As most Americans continued to read what piqued their interest, they sought literature that would distract them from the squalor that pervaded the American people. Despite the Depression’s negative effects on the general public, writers such as Hemingway, Pearl S. Buck, Thomas Wolfe, William Faulkner, and Hervey Allen wrote popular works that helped people escape from the harsh realities of life during the Great Depression.
The Federal Writers’ Project supported writers during the Great Depression through various programs. For example, the Federal Writers’ Project helped unemployed writers obtain employment by employing them for projects on various publications, including pamphlets, books, and magazines. Before 1935, federal support for writers was minimal, but this initiative provided an opportunity to continue working as a writer. A great deal of writers during the Depression benefited from the New Deal.