Best Literary Landmarks In Pittsburgh

January 18, 2014 6:00 AM

(Source: Handout/Getty Images)

wonderboyscs 902626 Best Literary Landmarks In Pittsburgh

Photo Credit: Handout/Getty Images

Many notable authors, playwrights, song composers and authors call Pittsburgh home – a town that was once synonymous with grime, grit and dust. From the ashes of the great steel age came such artists who wrote in and about this beautiful, strong and bold community and its residents herein. Following are five mention-worthy literary landmarks in the Steel City. From the college that a well-known protagonist is employed in to nearby parks that a beloved poet wrote in, you’re sure to recognize at least one of the items on this list.

Michael Chabon – Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 268-2000

Michael Chabon, originally of Pittsburgh, is the bestselling author of the 2008 novel “Wonder Boys.” Grady Tripp, an aging, former Wunderkind publisher lost in the labyrinth of his second novel, is employed at an unnamed college in Pittsburgh (which the reader may assume is Carnegie Mellon). A few nods to the college include a reference to ‘Hamerschlag,’ one of CMU’s teaching facilities, and ‘the Cut,’ CMU’s well-known grassy knoll. The film adaptation of the book was filmed on Carnegie Mellon’s campus and in and around Shadyside Academy and Chatham University.

Annie Dillard – Point Breeze
Park Place Elementary School
341 S. Bellefield Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Point Breeze’s claim to literary fame is largely thanks to poet Annie Dillard’s highly regarded, Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, “An American Childhood,” set in Point Breeze in the 1950s. As an adolescent, she attended Park Place Elementary School, a Pittsburgh Public School on South Braddock Avenue, which was recently revamped into a Propel charter school. Built in 1903, the institution was listed on the 1986 National Register of Historic Places.

John Edgar Wideman – Homewood
Homewood Neighborhood
Pittsburgh, PA

Wideman, one of this century’s greatest American novelists, was born and raised in Homewood, adjacent to Pittsburgh’s notorious East End. Wideman’s memoir, “Brothers and Keepers,” prominently features many Homewood and Pittsburgh institutions; most prominently, his brother’s favorite haunts throughout his lifetime as a fugitive wanted for robbery and murder. Wideman recalls the capture of his younger brother Robby in the memoir, and paints a haunting picture of the darker side of Pittsburgh’s underbelly in the ’60s.

Related: Best Literary Landmarks In Pittsburgh

Hilary Masters
Mexican War Streets
Pittsburgh, PA

Hilary Masters, son of poet and dramatist Edgar Lee Masters, knows the patchwork of our great country far too well. Having moved multiple times during his lifetime, he finally sought refuge on Pittsburgh’s historical Mexican War Streets with his second wife. Many references to Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville section are peppered through his writing, most prominently in his last book of essays, “In Rooms of Memory.” A spiritually ensconced trip through this notable author’s memory, this book will leave your curiosity of Pittsburgh’s urban areas piqued.

Drue Heinz Lectures
Carnegie Music Hall
4400 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 622-8866

In September of 1993, aforementioned author Annie Dillard gave a memorable lecture recounting her childhood growing up in Pittsburgh, which was the maiden voyage of what was to become the unparalleled Drue Lecture Series. Founded by Dennis Ciccone following Ms. Dillard’s bright performance, dozens of authors have addressed local book aficionados. For more information on how to gain access to this monthly series, visit the website or call.

Related: Best Places To Read Your Book With Coffee In Pittsburgh

Nikki Tiani-Moroney is a full time mum of two boys, wife of a professional poker player/photographer/amateur pencil-sharpening competitor and writer from Pittsburgh, PA. When she isn’t studiously neglecting her housework in favor of a good book, she’s out simultaneously fighting crime and picking up sidewalk litter while savoring an occasional cigarette. Her work can be found at

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