Mary McCarthy (1912-1989) was born in Seattle, Washington. She was a short-story writer, bestselling novelist, essayist and an art critic. She was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and won the National Medal for Literature and the Edward MacDowell Medal in 1984. Her debut novel, The Company She Keeps (1942), initiated her ascent to the most celebrated writers of her generation; the publication of her autobiography Memories of a Catholic Girlhood in 1957 bolstered this reputation. McCarthy wrote more than twenty-four books, including the now-classic novel The Group (1963). This was the New York Times Best Seller for two years.