Annie Oakley Society Award
Soon after Mary Higgins Clark’s first marriage, she started writing short stories, finally selling her first to Extension Magazine in 1956 for $100. Left a young widow by the death of her husband from a heart attack in 1964, Mary went to work writing radio scripts and decided to try her hand at writing books. Every morning, she woke up at 5:00 a.m. and wrote until 7:00 a.m., when she had to get her five children ready for school. Her very first book was a biographical novel about George Washington, inspired by a radio series she was writing, “Portrait of a Patriot.” Originally published in 1969 by Meredith Press with the title Aspire to the Heavens, it was discovered years later by a Washington family member and re-issued in 2002 with the title Mount Vernon Love Story. Clark’s first suspense novel, Where Are the Children?, was published by Simon & Schuster in 1975. It became a bestseller and marked a turning point in her life and career.
Clark entered Fordham University at Lincoln Center, graduating summa cum laude in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from Fordham University in 1998. She has received a total of twenty-one honorary doctorates.
Clark’s books are worldwide bestsellers; her books have sold over 100 million copies. She has been the number one fiction bestselling author in France, where she received the Grand Prix de Literature Policière, The Literary Award, at the 1998 Deauville Film Festival and was named by the French Minister of Culture “Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.” Other honors include the Gold Medal of Honor from the American-Irish Historical Society, the National Arts Club’s first Gold Medal in Education, the Horatio Alger Award, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Outstanding Mother of the Year Award, and the first Reader’s Digest Author of the Year Award.
Mary Higgins Clark wrote thirty-eight suspense novels, four collections of short stories, a historical novel, a memoir, and two children’s books.