PERSONAL: Daughter of Maxwell (a playwright) and Mabbie Anderson.
ADDRESSES: Home—Napa, CA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Simon & Schuster Publicity Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.
CAREER: Screenwriter and novelist.
AWARDS, HONORS: Best adapted screenplay award nominations, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and Writers Guild of America, all 1987, all for Children of a Lesser God.
South Mountain Road: A Daughter's Journey of Discovery (memoir), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.
MacDougal Street Ghosts (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2005.
Touched by Love (also known as To Elvis, with Love; based on a story by Lena Canada), Rastar Pictures, 1980.
(With James Carrington [uncredited]) Children of a Lesser God (based on the play by Mark Medoff), Paramount Pictures, 1986.
Grand Isle (based on the novel by Kate Chopin), Turner Pictures, 1991.
(With Jake Justiz and S. Lee Pogostin) The UFO Incident (also known as Interrupted Journey; based on the story "The Interrupted Journey" by John G. Fuller), National Broadcasting Company, Inc. (NBC), 1975.
The Deliberate Stranger (based on the book by Richard W. Larsen), NBC, 1986.
(With Alan Landsburg and Joanna Strauss) Unspeakable Acts (based on the book by Jan Hollingsworth), American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. (ABC), 1990.
Also author of screenplay for television film Rape and Marriage: The Rideout Case, 1980.
SIDELIGHTS: Hesper Anderson began her writing career as a screenwriter but has since turned to writing books. South Mountain Road: A Daughter's Journey of Discovery is a memoir of her childhood living in a thriving artistic and intellectual community in Rockland County, New York. Anderson's father, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Maxwell Anderson, was one prominent member of that community; others included the married couple Kurt Weill (the composer) and Lotte Lenya (the actress and singer), Alan Jay Lerner (author of the librettos for My Fair Lady and Camelot), and Burgess Meredith (the actor). Many of these "legendary figures," GraceAnne A. DeCandido wrote in Booklist, "emerge full-bodied …, seen from the point of view of a child who … counted on their love." Many critics noted that Anderson's writing skill translates well from the screen to the page; a Publishers Weekly contributor praised her "deft storytelling ability in this finely written memoir that opens stunningly," while Library Journal reviewer Shana C. Fair commented that Anderson "skillfully maintains suspense until the very last pages."
MacDougal Street Ghosts, Anderson's second book, is a novel about Callie Hyde Epstein, a screenwriter living in Los Angeles, California. Now fifty-something, Callie is drawn back into memories of her young adulthood when, while packing for a move to northern California, she finds some of her family's home movies from the late 1960s. Callie reminisces about the failure of her marriage to her husband Irwin, her affair with a neighbor named Sam Messenger, and her struggle to find a job and support her three children after Irwin leaves. "This unsentimental novel is a thoughtful re-examination of a fraught era, but it lacks emotional immediacy and suffers from being told in flashback," commented a Publishers Weekly critic.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Anderson, Hesper, South Mountain Road: A Daughter's Journey of Discovery (memoir), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.
Booklist, March 1, 2000, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of South Mountain Road, p. 1193; March 15, 2000, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of South Mountain Road, p. 1320.
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2005, review of MacDougal Street Ghosts, p. 697.
Library Journal, February 1, 2000, Shana C. Fair, review of South Mountain Road, p. 84.
Publishers Weekly, February 14, 2000, review of South Mountain Road, p. 180; July 11, 2005, review of MacDougal Street Ghosts, p. 59.
Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com/ (October 26, 2005), "Hesper Anderson."