Annal: 1983 Edgar Allan Poe Award® for Best Critical/Biographical Work

Results of the Edgar Allan Poe Award® in the year 1983.

Book:Cain

Cain: The Biography of James M. Cain

Roy Hoopes

“I never knew a writer who regarded (writing) as anything but a refined form of crucifixion.”—James M. Cain

Despite that crusty dictum from James M. Cain, he did write continually for 63 years, producing far more than he was able to publish. His greatest works—The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce, and Double Indemnity—not only defined the hard-boiled style, but are also enduring classics of American literature.

During interviews with Cain for a profile in the Washingtonian, journalist Roy Hoopes found that Cain was not writing his autobiography—”don’t believe in ‘em.” So Hoopes approached him to do his biography. Cain readily assented and lent Hoopes two boxes of his unpublished papers, then arranged for the Library of Congress to lend him ten more boxes.

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