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Cornelia Read

To Harriet, on her 50th birthday: contemporary writers reflect on the influence of HARRIET THE SPY

in Fiction by

In the beginning, there were stories. Always stories. And with stories come writers. So begins Louise Fitzhugh’s 1964 classic, Harriet the Spy:    Harriet was trying to explain to Sport how to play Town. “See, first you make up the name of the town. Then you write down the names of all the people who live in it. You can’t have too many or it gets too hard. I usually have twenty-five.”    “Ummmmm.” Sport was tossing a football in the air. They were in the courtyard of Harriet’s house on East Eighty-seventh Street in Manhattan.    “Then when you know who lives there, you make up what they do. For instance, Mr. Charles Hanley runs the filling station on…

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