Kay Nolte Smith

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Kay Nolte Smith (July 4, 1932 – September 25, 1993) was an American novelist, essayist, and translator. She was for a time friendly with the philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand, who was her leading literary and philosophical influence.[1]

Smith was born in Eveleth, Minnesota and grew up in Baraboo, Wisconsin.[2] Smith launched her literary career after her separation from the Ayn Rand circle.[1] Her first novel was the mystery story The Watcher. Smith's Catching Fire is set in the world of the New York theater, with an anti-trade union political stance.[3] Mindspell centres on the conflict between science versus religion, with Nolte Smith stating this fiction was written "to challenge strongly the belief in the occult".[4] Her novel Elegy for a Soprano is a roman a clef inspired by Rand, Nathaniel Branden, and the circle around them. Elegy for a Soprano also portrays the life of Jewish Holocaust survivors from Czechoslovakia and Norway.[1] Two of her novels—Elegy for a Soprano and A Tale of the Wind—were nominated for Prometheus Awards in 1986 and 1992, respectively.[5]

She published seven novels before her death from cancer at age 61.



  • The Watcher (1981) — Won the Edgar for Best First [mystery] Novel by an American Author
  • Catching Fire (1982)
  • Mindspell (1984)
  • Elegy for a Soprano (1985) — nominated for 1986 Prometheus Award in Best Novel category
  • Country of the Heart (1987)
  • A Tale of the Wind (1991) — nominated for 1992 Prometheus Award in Best Novel category
  • Venetian Song (1994)


Smith translated the play Chantecler: A Play in Four Acts by Edmond Rostand in 1987 into English from the French original.[6]


"Truth or the Consequences" in Women without Superstition: No Gods, No Masters.


  1. ^ a b c Swann, Greg. "The art and science of Kay Nolte Smith, Novelist"
  2. ^ NYT Obituary
  3. ^ Newton Baird, "Smith, Kay Nolte" in Twentieth Century Crime and Mystery Writers,edited by James Vinson and D.L. Kirkpatrick. St. James Press, 1985. pp. 809–10.
  4. ^ Smith, quoted in Twentieth Century Crime and Mystery Writers, p. 809.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ A Tribute to Kay Nolte Smith by Michelle Fram Cohen

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