The disappearance of a once-famous 1920s child novelist

Barbara Newhall Follett was eight years old when she began writing her novel, The House Without Windows.

It was published four years later, in 1927, to wide praise (“almost unbearably beautiful.” - The Saturday Review of Literature). At age 13, Follett went aboard a lumber schooner, and wrote of her experiences as a "cabin boy" on the ship. Her book, The Voyage of the Norman D, won accolades from reviewers (“Its ingeniousness is preserved, yet embellished, by a literary craftsmanship which would do credit to an experienced writer,” - Times Literary Supplement).

Follett was well on her way to becoming a well-respected young adult author. But her life soon started to crumble, and she eventually vanished. Lapham's Quarterly has Follett's sad, strange, fascinating story.

Image: Farksolia

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  1. "Vanishing Act" is a good read, but if you want a longer version of my aunt Barbara's story, check this piece I wrote for her 100th birthday last March 4th. Also my website, Farksolia. I'll soon be publishing a big book of her letters and some other items.

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