PEN mourns the loss of literary scholar, biographer, and longtime member, Virginia Spencer Carr. Carr passed away on April 10th at her home in Lynn, Massachusetts from liver disease. She was 82.

Carr was born on July 21, 1929 in West Palm Beach, FL and graduated from Florida State University. She earned her master’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina and returned to Florida State, where she wrote her dissertation on Carson McCullers’s work. While working as an English professor at Columbus College in the late 1960s, Carr began working on The Lonely Hunter, the biography of McCullers, which would define her career.

The Lonely Hunter was less of a critical analysis and more of a shrewd commentary defined by scrupulous research, affording its reader an intimate portrait of McCullers. In a New York Times article, Richard R. Lingeman said it was, “the kind of biography that leaves the reader replete with the sense of having vicariously experienced a life as it was lived.” Carr also wrote the biographies of John Dos Passos and Paul Bowles. Carr is survived by her daughters, Karen Carr Gale, Catherine Carr Lee, Kimberly Carr Morris; seven grandchildren; and her partner, Mary E. Robbins.