Nora Ephron – journalist, writer, screenwriter, director and playwright – passed away last week. A daughter of writers and a witty social critic all her life, Ephron weaved herself into our cultural consciousness over the course of six decades. In addition to her recent memoirs I Remember Nothing and I Feel Bad About My Neck, she wrote the screenplays for When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail and Julie & Julia. Though she was only 71, news sources say she suffered from a blood disorder.
Ephron was a champion of women, and prided herself on drawing inspiration from real life. Her novel Heartburn is reputedly based on her breakup with her second husband Carl Bernstein, and her 1983 screenplay Silkwood is based on the story of Karen Silkwood, who exposed shoddy manufacturing practices at her plutonium fuel rod plant. She admired strong and flawed women who could be honest about their struggles with relationships and careers, and she was never shy about sharing her own. She was famously preoccupied with her failed marriages and the experience of growing older, but always approached her anxieties with good (and acerbic) humor.
At a Wellesley College commencement address in 1996, she passed on some of her most famous advice to the female graduates:
“Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.”
We remember Nora at NPL, where her work will live on for years to come. Check out our shelves and honor her with the laughter she inspired all her life.