In 1997, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards asked a few eminent, creative Americans to write encouraging letters to students like you: their younger selves. One Pulitzer-Prize winning humorist, Art Buchwald, kindly responded. We hope he inspires you to Start.Write.Now!
Arthur “Art” Buchwald (1925 – 2007) was an American humorist best known for his long-running column in The Washington Post, which ran as a syndicated column in many other newspapers. His column focused on his particular “take” on life and politics in Washington. Whether he wrote about the role of religion in Congress (You Gotta Have Faith) or the dilemma reporters face when asked to disclose their sources (The Sources of Trouble) his subjects remain as relevant and refreshingly astute today as when he earned his Pulitzer for Outstanding Commentary in 1986.
Buchwald did indeed have a difficult and often unhappy childhood. He ran away from home at 17 and joined the U.S. Marines, where he began to use his wits to his best advantage. His column appeared in more than 550 papers and in his life he wrote more than 8,000 of them. Of his satiric skill, he insisted he simply needed to pay attention:
“You can’t make up anything anymore,” Buchwald wrote. “The world itself is a satire. All you’re doing is recording it.”
Check out this great video profile of Buchwald from The New York Times!