Faith McNulty

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Faith McNulty (November 28, 1918 – April 10, 2005) was an American non-fiction author, probably best known for her 1980 literary journalism genre book The Burning Bed. She is also known for her authorship of wildlife pieces and books, including children's books.

Faith Trumbull Corrigan was born in New York City,[1] the daughter of a judge. She attended Barnard College for one year,[1] then attended Rhode Island State College. But she dropped out of college once she got a job as a copy girl at the New York Daily News. She later went to work for Life magazine. She worked for the U.S. Office of War Information in London during World War II.

McNulty was a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine from 1953 to 1994.[1] In 1980, a collection of her New Yorker work was published as The Wildlife Stories of Faith McNulty.[1] For many years, she edited the annual New Yorker compilation of the year's best children's books.

She also frequently wrote children's books on wildlife, including How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World in 1979 and When I Lived With Bats in 1998. Her 1966 book The Whooping Crane: The Bird that Defies Distinction was written for adults.

Her husband, John McNulty, was also a writer[1] for The New Yorker and with Thomas Wolfe, Truman Capote, Gay Talese and James Baldwin, a major figure in the development of the literary genre of Creative nonfiction, which is also known as literary journalism or literature in fact. As earlier here noted, having herself been years exposed to Harold Ross' New Yorker magazine's rarefied environment, which was then so promoting of this evolving genre, Faith's own major nonfiction work, The Burning Bed, is, itself, a quintessential and quality example of the genre of literary journalism or, as Thomas Wolfe once labeled it, the “New Journalism”. After her husband John died in 1956, Faith remarried, to Richard Martin, a set designer and an inventive designer of set props.

The Burning Bed told the true story of Francine Hughes, who set fire to the bedroom in which her husband was sleeping. Hughes defended herself by saying that her husband had been abusing her for 13 years. The jury at her trial ruled that she had been temporarily insane, and she was found not guilty.

Faith had fonder memories of life with kinder family, however. "I can remember my father in his nightshirt, digging for worms for the baby robin in the bathroom. That's the kind of household it was; I had woodchucks in the bathroom, cats, squirrels, chipmunks", McNulty once said.

Towards the end of her life, she wrote a weekly column for The Providence Journal on a local animal shelter run by the Animal Welfare League. Her mother had founded the Animal Welfare League in southern Rhode Island. McNulty had long been known for taking in stray animals at her farm.

She suffered a stroke in 2004. She died at her farm in Wakefield, Rhode Island.

McNulty's last book was illustrated by Steven Kellogg and published by Scholastic Books in 2005, If You Decide to Go to the Moon—a picture book written in the second person.[2] Next year (after McNulty's death) it won a major "year's best" children's literary award, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Nonfiction.[3]

Selected works[edit]

  • How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World
  • Dancing with Manatees
  • The Burning Bed
  • ''The Wildlife Stories of Faith McNulty
  • Peeping in the Shell: A Whooping Crane Is Hatched
  • Arty The Smarty
  • Why Must They Die? The strange case of the prairie dog and the black-footed ferret
  • Whales: Their Life in the Sea
  • Listening to Whales Sing
  • How Whales Walked into the Sea
  • The Elephant Who Couldn't Forget[4][5]
  • Endangered Animals
  • The Great Whales
  • Hurricane
  • If Dogs Ruled the World
  • The Lady and the Spider
  • Mouse and Tim
  • Orphan: The Story of a Baby Woodchuck
  • Playing With Dolphins
  • Red Wolves
  • The Silly Story of a Flea and His Dog
  • A Snake in the House[6][7]
  • With Love from Koko
  • Woodchuck
  • If You Decide to Go to the Moon, illustrated by Steven Kellogg (Scholastic, 2005)[3][8]



  1. ^ a b c d e "Person Detail: Faith Corrigan McNulty". New York State Literary Tree ( Retrieved 2014-09-29.
  2. ^ "If you decide to go to the moon {...}". Library of Congress Online Catalog ( Retrieved 2014-09-29. With linked "publisher description" and "contributor biographical information".
  3. ^ a b "Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards Winners and Honor Books 1967 to present". The Horn Book. 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-12-14. Retrieved 2014-09-29.  With linked acceptance speech (audio only, MP3) by Steven Kellogg, illustrator of the winning book; writer McNulty was deceased.
  4. ^ "The Elephant Who Couldn't Forget". Kirkus Media LLC. Retrieved July 30, 2016. one has to admire the way McNulty weaves all the elements together, calling attention to none and ending up with a more than usually rounded composite. Simont's pictures are soft and agreeable; and he outdoes himself with the expressions of the dowager Manyara. 
  5. ^ "The Elephant Who Couldn't Forget". PWxyz LLC. Retrieved July 30, 2016. Congo, the smallest elephant in his family and the star of this amusing, fact-based I Can Read, discovers that having an excellent memory and remembering to hold a grudge are two different things. 
  6. ^ "A Snake In The House". Kirkus Media LLC. January 1, 1994. Retrieved July 30, 2016. Uncommonly attractive and carefully wrought 
  7. ^ "A Snake In The House". PWxyz LLC. Retrieved July 30, 2016. Sun-dappled watercolors illuminate this ecologically minded prose poem. 
  8. ^ "Book Review: End-of-the-Year and Summer Reading - If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty". The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. May 15, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2016. Beautifully illustrated and full of scientific information 
  9. ^ "If You Decide To Go To The Moon". Kirkus Media LLC. September 1, 2005. Retrieved July 30, 2016. A powerful, playful tribute to the minutiae and magnificence of space exploration. 
  10. ^ "If You Decide to Go the Moon". PWxyz LLC. Retrieved July 30, 2016. impressive picture book 

External links[edit]