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Seattle's Greatest Cultural Contributions of the Past 40 Years

If you’re anything like us, then you’ve been harboring a healthy obsession with what might be called The Seattle Cannon for years, and you probably didn’t even realize it. Not only is Seattle one of the most literate cities in the US, it’s also home to a group of writers who have advanced America’s literary tradition, and considerably. Because the life of American letters is so often the subject of Flavorpill coverage, we are excited to announce our launch in Seattle. Be sure to tell all your friends from Washington to sign up for Flavorpill!

Starbucks is sponsoring our Seattle launch, and by way of a thank you (and in honor of their recent 40th anniversary), we’re running a retrospective of the city’s most noteworthy cultural contributions over the past four decades. Check out our final spotlight on Mary McCarthy, Jon Krakauer, and Tom Robbins after the jump.

Mary McCarthy

A beautiful writer with a sharp tongue and acerbic literary persona, McCarthy was born in Seattle, studied at Vassar, and died in New York City in 1989. The Group, first published in 1963, was her best-selling work, and the one for which she is widely known, though many critics (ourselves included) argue that she produced stronger material earlier in her career. The novel follows eight female graduates in 1930s America and describes in refreshingly frank terms their experiences with sex, contraception, and, gasp, breast feeding. Norman Mailer did not take kindly to it, calling it a “trivial lady’s writer novel.” Shocker. Lighten up, Norm.

Jon Krakauer

Krakauer was born in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1954, but moved to Seattle with his wife in 1977, and lived there until the release of Into Thin Air in 1997. An expanded version of his 1996 article for Outside , the book follows a 1996 Mount Everest disaster in which eight climbers were killed and several other stranded by a “rogue storm.” Krakauer was a guide. Into Thin Air reached first place on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list, was honored as “Book of the Year” by Time magazine, and was among the final three books considered for the General Non-Fiction Pulitzer Prize in 1998.

Tom Robbins

This Flavorpill favorite ranks somewhere near the top of our list of 21st century authors. In 1962, Robbins moved to Seattle, and a few years later to La Conner, Washington, about 75 miles from Seattle. It is from his home in La Conner that he wrote his nine novels. And while everyone is familiar with Jitterbug Perfume, Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, you might be interested to know that he also did extensive reporting in the mid ’60s for the Seattle Times and Seattle Magazine.

In 1997, Robbins won the Golden Umbrella award for contributions to the arts, presented annually by the Bumbershoot Arts Festival in Seattle, the same festival that Flavorpill and Starbucks want to send you to as a VIP. Check out our Starbucks Photo Mosaic, win a trip, and make sure to check in for our fourth installment of the Starbucks Seattle Culture Retrospective, coming next week.

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