F. Scott Fitzgerald is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Born in St. Paul, Minn., in 1896, Fitzgerald attended Princeton but left college to enroll in the army during World War I. He met Zelda Sayre while stationed in Alabama and the war ended before he was sent overseas. Fitzgerald’s writing career took off in 1920 with the successful publication of This Side of Paradise. Financially stable, he and Zelda married and shuttled back and forth from Europe and America, where their frenetic, lavish lifestyle established their reputation as emblems of the Jazz Age of the 1920s. The Great Gatsby was published in 1925, but was never popular until after Fitzgerald’s death in 1940 from heart disease brought on by his alcoholism. Fitzgerald died believing himself a failure, but in the past 75 years, The Great Gatsby has endured and is now considered one of the finest novels of American literature.

In addition to The Great Gatsby and This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald finished The Beautiful and Damned and Tender is the Night as well as many short stories. A fifth, unfinished novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, was published posthumously.


Maureen Corrigan is an American journalist, author and literary critic. She writes for the “Book World” section of the Washington Post, and has been a book critic on the NPR radio program Fresh Air for nearly 20 years. She is the author of So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures (2014) and Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books (2005).

Corrigan holds a B.A. from Fordham University as well as an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and is Critic in Residence and a lecturer in English at Georgetown University. In addition to her work with the Washington Post and Fresh Air, Corrigan’s essays and reviews have appeared in the Village Voice, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Nation, New York Observer, and Salon.

Corrigan lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and daughter.