Thursday, October 27, 2011

Suzette Haden Elgin

Linguist and SF writer Suzette Haden Elgin, author of the "Native Tongue" and "Planet Ozark" novels and numerous nonfiction books in her "Verbal Self Defense" series, hasn't posted on her blog since April. This week a message appeared on her Live Journal blog, passed on from her husband, that she can no longer focus well enough even to answer e-mails. In fact, she has Alzheimer's. Here's a reaction to the news from one of her many fans:

Brilliant Writer Falls Silent

This article includes a link to the original discussion on Elgin's blog.

What a shock. I always eagerly followed her warm, witty, thought-provoking comments on Live Journal and have missed them. She generously posted drafts of poems, inviting reader comment and often revising the poems in response. She also gave us regular reports on the progress of the latest SF novel she was working on. Now that novel won't be finished (at least, not by her). She was a shining model of an author's interaction with readers.

With Terry Pratchett (who's still writing), that makes two of my favorite authors I know of who've developed Alzheimer's. As one of the commenters on Elgin's blog remarked, it's especially sad to see this fate befall someone whose life's work has been so deeply engaged with language.

Margaret Carter
Carter's Crypt


  1. That is so sad. I have always loved her books and have most of them in my personal library. I met her once and she was a very nice person.

  2. Oh, this is really sad. We have to find a prevention or a cure.