The 75th anniversary celebration of GONE WITH THE WIND begins!

Can you believe it’s been 75 years?  Seems like just yesterday… okay maybe not…  But for writers and readers (and movie-goers) everywhere, this book has had quite an impact and 75 years is worth celebrating!  Our intrepid Atlanta area Event Reporter and Regular Contributor Ana Raquel reports:

What better way to kick off this celebration than with the authors of the newly released Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind: A Bestseller’s Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood, Ellen F. Brown and John Wiley, Jr.?  Speaking last night to a room full of GWTW fans at The Literary Center at The Margaret Mitchell House, both authors said they were delighted to be a part of of the 75th anniversary and to have the opportunity to speak at this historical venue.

Brown is an award winning writer who loves rare and antiquarian books and was a lawyer in a former life, while Wiley is the proud owner of one of the largest private collections of GWTW memorabilia.

Wiley originally from Richmond, Virginia, remembers being 10 years old, when his mom took him and his sister to see the movie GONE WITH THE WIND. When he found out there was a book about it he rushed to the “Book Mobile” which was his closest public library to check it out. His mom had to sign a permission slip in order for him to check out the “adult” book. The book size surprised him when he got it, but he still wanted to read it and it took him a little over a month to finish it.  The impression the story left in his young mind, made him want to own a copy of the great book. His first copy, was a gift from his sister, (she paid $1.25 for a softcover!)

Next, he decided he had to own a hardback and bought one for $6.95. My own personal hardback copy, which I have owned for just a few years, is printing number 121 and when I bought it, it cost $28.00. Wiley now owns about 800 editions, which includes all the American editions, and the rest are international ones including 92 Chinese editions.

Mr. Wiley says that he has read GWTW 12 times.  While co-author Ellen Brown admits “Before I met John Wiley, I had never read the book, but when I did, I was blown away. I now own two copies of the book!”

I am proud to say that my 11 year old niece, Estrella Raquel, has read GWTW three times and during her recent visit to Atlanta we toured the historical Margaret Mitchell House and Museum and she loved it!

During their talk, Brown shared with the audience that earlier that day Wiley left a dozen roses on Margaret Mitchell’s gravesite and it was Wiley’s collection and passion for the subject that ultimately connected these two authors.  With unprecedented access to GWTW records, they collaborated and wrote what they call “A biography of the book.”

Some of the discoveries revealed in the new book are Rhett’s middle name, and what Margaret Mitchell believed happened to Rhett and Scarlett after the book ends. To find out, I invite you to read this great new book, which is also full of fascinating photos.

— Ana Raquel, Regular Contributor and Author Chaser!