Powell’s 1935 diary, in which she sketched out “Turn Magic Wheel”

As a voracious consumer of the personal diaries and letters of writers (I’m midway through Anton Chekhov’s brilliant letters now, and just finished Ursula Nordstrom’s), I find myself salivating at the news that Dawn Powell biographer Tim Page is putting her diaries up for auction.┬áThere are dozens of them, in various conditions.

Powell, who wrote several novels and stories and whose collected works have been reissued in two volumes by the Library of America, was a fantastically quirky chronicler of Manhattan and of her home state of Ohio. Her novels were modestly successful, though she struggled for recognition and was largely forgotten after she died in 1965. In the 1990’s, her work was reissued to much acclaim by her biographer, Tim Page, who currently owns the diaries.

The diaries are currently at the Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library. They are being sold as a lot, with a suggested opening bid of $500,000.

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