Little Women fans are being asked to finish off a piece of Louisa May Alcott’s unfinished work. Here is everything we know about it.
Little Women fans, we’ve got some exciting news for you. An early piece of unfinished work by the book’s beloved author, Lousia May Alcott, has just been published for the first time. Alcott, who had a varied career that included writing poems, short stories and thrillers. wrote the little-known piece when she was 17.
Fans can now read it in The Strand literary magazine – and readers are being asked to finish writing it.
The story, called Aunt Nellie’s Diary, is told from the perspective of a single woman who is responsible for looking after her teenage niece, Annie. When Annie’s friend Isabel comes to stay, Nellie becomes concerned that the girl’s attractive exterior hides a “darkness within”.
The 9,000-word work describes how both girls fall for the motherless Edward Clifford, who possesses his late “mother’s gentle heart beautifully blended with the calm and noble mind of his father”.
Colour us intrigued.
“She was ahead of her time in many respects, from being a feminist and abolitionist,” says The Strand’s editor Andrew Gulli, as reported in The Guardian. “Fans will enjoy the idyllic life portrayed in the novel with picnics, and masked balls, which is a far cry from the life most of are leading today.”
And, in the same report, Daniel Shealy, professor of English at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, says the story showed “an emerging talent on the cusp of a promising career”.
The Strand is asking writers to now put themselves forward to finish the story. “Unfortunately, after 9,000 words, the narrative was abandoned, leaving many questions unanswered,” explains Gulli. “We’re now looking for authors who think they are up for the task of completing it.”
Shealy adds: “Good stories always keep readers wanting to turn the pages and Alcott, even in her late teens, knew this well. Aunt Nellie’s Diary, over 170 years after it was penned, now takes its rightful place among Alcott’s earliest works, revealing the promise and talent that would blossom in her celebrated literary career.”
Feel up to the challenge? Visit The Strand’s website to order the issue and find out more.
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