The Andy Warhol Diaries


By Andy Warhol

By Pat Hackett

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The classic, scandalous, and bestselling tell-all-and-then-some from Andy Warhol—now a Netflix series produced by Ryan Murphy.

This international literary sensation turns the spotlight on one of the most influential and controversial figures in American culture. Filled with shocking observations about the lives, loves, and careers of the rich, famous, and fabulous, Warhol's journal is endlessly fun and fascinating.

Spanning the mid-1970s until just a few days before his death in 1987, THE ANDY WARHOL DIARIES is a compendium of the more than twenty thousand pages of the artist's diary that he dictated daily to Pat Hackett. In it, Warhol gives us the ultimate backstage pass to practically everything that went on in the world-both high and low. He hangs out with "everybody": Jackie O ("thinks she's so grand she doesn't even owe it to the public to have another great marriage to somebody big"), Yoko Ono ("We dialed F-U-C-K-Y-O-U and L-O-V-E-Y-O-U to see what happened, we had so much fun"), and "Princess Marina of, I guess, Greece," along with art-world rock stars Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francis Bacon, Salvador Dali, and Keith Haring.

Warhol had something to say about everyone who crossed his path, whether it was Lou Reed or Liberace, Patti Smith or Diana Ross, Frank Sinatra or Michael Jackson. A true cultural artifact, THE ANDY WARHOL DIARIES amounts to a portrait of an artist-and an era-unlike any other.


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Andy on his forty-sixth birthday, with his dachshund Archie, August 6, 1974. (Photographed by Pat Hackett, who, in the years right before the diaries began, took many photographs of the Warhol Factory.)

In the two and a half decades since these diaries were first published, Andy's presence has expanded exponentially. His work and his image have permeated world culture to the point where he now may be, I'm tempted to say, as famous as just about anybody who ever lived.

Certainly he's every bit as famous—as instantly universally recognizable—as the silk-screened faces he so famously "iconicized": Marilyn, Elvis, Marlon, Mao, Einstein, Ali, and Jackie, to name some. Even the uber-American Soup Cans that he launched his Pop Art career with in the early sixties have superseded their Campbell's originals in terms of worldwide recognition.

People have always liked to say that Andy "worshiped" the personages he painted, that he was starstruck. Not true. As genuine and as enthusiastic a fan as he was, he was anything but starry-eyed. On the contrary, his observations were clear-sighted. As his diaries so tellingly attest, he subjected everyone to the same level of scrutiny, from a president of the United States to the driver who might have delivered him, Andy, to the White House. He was non-reverent and non-pretentious (forget the ir and un). People—all people—and the "quotidiana" of their lives interested him endlessly.

Andy had a gift for expressing original thoughts with unexpected turns on simple and familiar words and phrases. Behind his opaque facade was a deep and powerful thinker. He was, in his own way, as dedicated a student of human culture and behavior as, say, Margaret Mead and B. F. Skinner. Measure Mead's calculated exhortation to "Always remember, you are absolutely unique—just like everyone else," and Skinner's contention that "The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do," against Andy's breathtaking prophesy that "In the future everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes"1 and his perversely profound mission statement "I want to be a machine." (At times Andy appeared almost able to manifest that goal. He pushed himself to work long and hard, drawing on large reserves of self-discipline.)

He was the calm, seemingly imperturbable, eye of the storm that incessantly swirled around him. No matter the provocation, he held his tongue and kept his poker face. Only later, the next day, from the fastness of his house, would he loosen that tongue, confiding to me, often in hilarious detail, exactly what he'd thought about it all. In all the years I knew him, I don't think I ever once saw him publicly lose his cool white cool.

Andy and Salvador Dalí at a film screening, 1975.

Andy studying Jack Nicholson on his first visit to The Factory, 1970.

No public figure I can think of had greater carte-blanche access to more inner circles than Andy: art, entertainment, fashion, politics, sports, society. Yes, there was a flock of journalists who may have spread their wings as widely and covered as many scenes, but they would by definition have been on the outside looking in, whereas Andy was always already there—on the inside looking even deeper in. And describing it all to his dear diary.

The diary was the perfect literary form and discipline for Andy, with its assembly line of days—factory-like and all laid out back-to-back—almost evoking the multiple series of his silk-screened Pop Art canvases. Each diary day gets equal billing. Each entry, whether momentous or minor, takes on the intrinsic equalizing drone of the whole tome: "Had a death threat" (May 4, 1981) has the same weight as "Saw a squirrel eating a nut" (August 20, 1979). The details of any single day, however dramatic, are subsumed in the low, comforting hum of the humdrum business of over and over again waking up, doing things, and working at the business of remaining alive—of staying in the game to record another day.

We are inundated with the expression "You had to be there." For me, the best "there" was always Andy's rundown—even when I'd been there myself, with him in the same room, taking in the same scene and cast of characters. The diaries, with their unprecedented candor, add up to no less than the canvas of an era and an unforgettable self-portrait. (I'll leave it to others to describe them as the great Proustian novel that Andy's friend Truman Capote was forever trying to finish.)

People are always asking me, "If Andy were alive today, what do you think he would think about so-and-so? Or such-and-such?" My answer is always the same: I have absolutely no idea. How could I possibly have any inkling of what Andy would think now about anyone or anything, since it was impossible to predict what he would say when he was alive? You can't extrapolate or deduce genius. The whole fascination and fun of talking to Andy every morning in the service of compiling the hefty document that follows was that—as intimately as I knew him—he constantly surprised me.

And in the diaries (this I can and do predict!) he will surprise you, too.

Andy and Joan Crawford at the Rainbow Room, September 23, 1974.


New York    

September 2014    


I met Andy Warhol in the autumn of 1968—eight years after he painted his first Pop art canvases and just three months after he was shot and nearly killed by a woman who had appeared for a moment in one of his "underground" movies. During the previous spring the art-making/film-making/hanging-out setup known to sixties legend as the "Factory" had moved from its original location, a silvered loft on East 47th Street, to a white and mirrored loft that took up the whole sixth floor of 33 Union Square West.

Andy loved Union Square—the trees in the park and the loft with its view of the stately Con Edison tower, its clock face shining like a neighborhood moon, giving the time day and night. Always considered an unofficial boundary between uptown and downtown, Union Square was near the bargain-shopping area on 14th Street. To the south, the West and East Villages and Soho were all within easy walking distance.

And, of course, a block away on Park Avenue South was Max's Kansas City, the breeding ground for so many of the characters that wound up in Factory movies. Every night, celebrities of the art, fashion, music, and "underground" filmmaking crowds jammed themselves into favorite corners of the back room at Max's and monitored each other's clothes, makeup, wit, and love interests while they received "exchange" celebrities from out of town—directors and producers from Europe or Hollywood—and waited to be taken away from "all this" (New York notoriety) and put into "all that" (global fame). Andy's art hung on the wall.

I was an undergraduate at Barnard at the time, and going down to the Factory to see if Andy Warhol needed a part-time typist seemed like a good way to inject some glamour into my college years. I introduced myself to Andy, explaining that I was going to school, and he suggested I work for him just whenever I could. So I began going down to the Factory a few days a week after classes. He and I shared a 4' × 10' office piled—as in time I discovered all his offices, whatever their dimensions, would be piled—with clutter. He would read the newspapers and drink carrot juice from Brownies, the health food store around the corner on 16th Street, while I transcribed tapes he'd hand me of phone conversations he'd had while he was in bed recuperating, first in the hospital and then at home in the narrow four-story Victorian house on Lexington and 89th that he lived in with his mother.

Andy had come to New York from Pittsburgh in 1949 and at first he shared apartments with other people. Eventually he could afford a place of his own. Then his mother suddenly arrived in town and moved in with him, her youngest son, saying she wanted to look after him. She may have decided—or just as likely, he may have told her—that he was working so hard he had no time to find a wife to take care of him, because when I met Julia Warhola one afternoon in 1969 she said hello, thought for a second, then concluded, "You'd be nice for my Andy—but he's too busy." (Andy's mother lived with him in his house on 89th Street and Lexington Avenue until 1971. By then, apparently suffering from senility, she required constant care and Andy sent her back to Pittsburgh to the care of his brothers John and Paul. After suffering a stroke, she died in a nursing home there in 1972, but to even his closest friends who'd often ask him, "How's your mother?" Andy continued for years to say, "Oh fine.")

In my first weeks at the Factory, friends Andy hadn't seen since before the shooting—superstars like Viva and Ondine and Nico, or Lou Reed or the other members of the Velvet Underground—would drop by the Union Square loft to ask him how he was feeling. He'd usually assure them, "Oh, good" or, occasionally he'd joke, "With my hands." Brigid Berlin, a.k.a. Brigid Polk, the eldest daughter of longtime Hearst Corporation chairman Richard E. Berlin, had starred in Andy's movie Chelsea Girls and now she would come by to make pocket money by letting Andy tape record her talking about, say, what had happened in the back room at Max's the night before or about who she had talked to on the phone that morning from her tiny room at the nearby George Washington Hotel; when she was done he'd take out his checkbook and reward her for the performance with $25 (sometimes negotiated up to $50). For each of these post-shooting reunions with his friends, something in Andy's expression said he was amazed that he was still alive to see them. At one point in the hospital, just before they succeeded in reviving him, the doctors had thought he was gone and Andy, in a state of semi-consciousness, had heard them say words to that effect; from June 1968 on, he considered himself a man who was officially "back from the dead."

Andy and I didn't talk much at first. For weeks I just transcribed and he just sat there, a few feet away from my manual typewriter, reading and taking phone calls. Most of the time, his face was impassive. There was definitely a weird feeling about him—for one thing, he moved in a strange way. Eventually I realized that this was because his chest was still wrapped in surgical tape—blood from the wounds that were still healing sometimes seeped through onto his shirt. But when Andy laughed, the weirdness disappeared and his whole face changed—then, he was appealing to me.

Andy was polite and humble. He rarely told anyone to do things—he'd just ask in a hopeful tone, "Do you think you could…?" He treated everyone with respect, he never talked down to anyone. And he made everyone feel important, soliciting their opinions and probing with questions about their own lives. He expected everyone who worked for him to do their job, but he was nonetheless grateful when they did—he knew that any degree of conscientiousness was hard to find, even when you paid for it. And he was especially grateful for even the smallest extra thing you might do for him. I never heard anyone say "Thank you" more than Andy, and from his tone, you always felt he meant it. "Thank you" were the last words he ever said to me.

Andy had three ways of dealing with employee incompetence, depending on his mood. Sometimes he'd watch for minutes at a time and then, raising his eyebrows and closing his eyes philosophically, turn away without saying a word; sometimes he'd rant and rail for half an hour at the offender, though nobody would ever get fired; and sometimes he'd suddenly break into an impromptu imitation of the person—never a literal one, but rather his interpretation of their vision of themselves—and it was always funny.

The worst things Andy could think to say about someone was that he was "the kind of person who thinks he's better than you" or, simply, "He thinks he's an 'intellectual.' " Andy knew that a good idea could come from anywhere; his head wasn't turned by credentials.

What was he impressed with, then? Fame—old, new, or faded. Beauty. Classical talent. Innovative talent. Anyone who did anything first. A certain kind of outrageous nerve. Good talkers. Money—especially big, old, American brand-name money. Contrary to what readers of social columns might guess after seeing Andy's name in print so many times over so many years at so many events with European royalty, foreign titles didn't impress him—he always got them completely wrong or, at the very least, badly mispronounced them.

He never took his success for granted; he was thrilled to have it. His uniform humility and courtesy were my two favorite things about him and, as much as he changed and evolved over all the years I knew him, these qualities never diminished.

After a few weeks of volunteer typing, I had my midterm exams to study for so I stopped going downtown. I assumed that Andy probably wouldn't even notice I wasn't around (I hadn't figured out yet that his passive expression didn't mean he wasn't noticing even the smallest details) so I was shocked when someone knocked on the door of my dorm room to say I had a call from "Andy." I couldn't believe he would even remember what school I went to, let alone which dorm I lived in. Where was I, he wanted to know. And to make sure I was coming back, he "sweetened the pot" by offering to start paying my subway fares to and from "work." A ride was then twenty cents.

The major activity at the Factory in the years 1968–72 was making feature-length 16mm movies (they would be blown up to 35mm for commercial release) with the offbeat people who hung around Max's or who came by the Factory to be "discovered." During the summer of '68 when Andy was home in bed recovering from his gunshot wounds, Paul Morrissey, a Fordham graduate who had once worked for an insurance company and who up until the shooting had assisted on Andy's "Factory" movies, filmed a movie of his own, Flesh. It starred the handsome receptionist/bouncer at the Factory, Joe Dallesandro, as an irresistible male hustler trying to raise money for his girlfriend's abortion, and in the fall of '68 Flesh began a long commercial run at the Garrick Theater on Bleecker Street.

Assisting Paul on Flesh was Jed Johnson, who had begun working at the Factory in the spring, shortly after he and his twin brother Jay arrived in town from Sacramento. Jed's first duties at the Factory were stripping the paint from the wooden frames of the windows that looked out on Union Square Park, and building shelves in the back of the loft for film-can storage. In his spare time he taught himself how to edit film on the Factory's Moviola by playing with reels of San Diego Surf and Lonesome Cowboys, both of which had been filmed by Andy on a Factory filmmaking field trip to Arizona and California just before he was shot.

Once the Factory moved to Union Square, Billy Name, the photographer who had been responsible for the silver look of the 47th Street Factory and for its amphetamine-centered social life, began living in the small darkroom he set up at the back of the loft. Over the course of a few months in '68 and the beginning of '69, he retreated from the daytime activities of the Factory and began emerging from his darkroom only at night and only after everyone had gone. Empty take-out food containers in the trash the next day were the only indications that he was alive and eating. After over a year of this hermitic, nocturnal life, when Jed arrived as usual one morning to open up the loft, he found the darkroom door wide open—Billy had gone.

Gerard Malanga, one of Andy's first painting assistants in the sixties and a performer in some of the early movies like Vinyl and Kiss, shared one of the two large desks at the front of the loft with Fred Hughes, who was just evolving into his position as manager of Andy's art career. Fred had entered the world of art connoisseurship through working for the de Menil family, art patrons and philanthropists from his hometown of Houston. Fred made a big impression on Andy in two major ways: First, in the short term, Fred had introduced him to this rich, generous family; and second, in the long term, he had a rare understanding of and respect for Andy's art and a flair for how, when, and where to present it. From his half of the desk, Gerard answered the phones while he wrote poetry, and in 1969 when Andy decided to start a magazine called inter/VIEW, Gerard was for a short while its editor before he left New York for Europe.

The other large desk belonged to Paul, who sat with color blowups of some of the "superstars" behind him, including two "Girls of the Year," Viva and International Velvet (Susan Bottomly). Paul went on to make Trash ('70) and Heat ('71). Women in Revolt and L'Amour, made during the same period, were a collaborative Factory effort with Andy, Paul, Fred, and Jed all involved in the casting, shooting, and editing. Then in 1974 Paul went to Italy to direct two movies for Carlo Ponti's production company which were ultimately "presented" by Andy—Andy Warhol's Frankenstein and Andy Warhol's Dracula. Jed and I went to Italy to work on them, and after they were finished Paul stayed on in Europe, in effect ending his role as a major influence at the Factory.

Fred by now was setting up all the office deals and helping Andy make his business decisions. Vincent Fremont, who had driven cross-country to New York from San Diego and begun working at the Factory in the autumn of '69, was now general office manager.

In the summer of '74 the Factory moved from 33 Union Square West to the third floor of 860 Broadway—just half a block away. Around this time, Andy instructed the receptionists to stop answering the phone with "Factory"—"Factory" had become "too corny," he said—and the place became simply "the office." Bob Colaciello, who had graduated from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and had come to the Factory by way of writing a review of Trash for the Village Voice, was working by this time mainly for the magazine (now, with a slight title change, called Andy Warhol's Interview), doing articles and writing his column, "OUT," which chronicled his own around-the-clock social life and dropped a heavy load of names every month. In 1974 Bob Colacello (by then he'd dropped the "i") officially became the magazine's executive editor, shaping its image into a politically conservative and sexually androgynous one. (It wasn't a magazine with a family readership—one survey in the late '70s concluded that the "average Interview reader had something like .001 children.") Its editorial and advertising policies were elitist to the point of being dedicated—as Bob himself once explained, laughing—to "the restoration of the world's most glamorous—and most forgotten—dictatorships and monarchies." It was a goal, people pointed out, that seemed incongruous with Bob's Brooklyn accent, but this didn't stop him from going on to specify exactly which monarchies he missed most and why.

When Andy decided to start the magazine, in '69, the idea was that it be oriented toward the movies. He wanted stars to just talk—their own words, unedited—and, wherever possible, to be interviewed by other stars. This was something new in magazine publishing. And since Andy's business philosophy was always to start things on a small budget and build slowly—do the early financing yourself so that later when the business is worth more, you, and not a backer, own more of it—the magazine was published on a very low budget. To give an idea of just how low the budget was: In the first issue, an interviewee had referred to a well-known movie critic who had just appeared in a Hollywood movie about a transsexual as a "drag queen." It was only after the issue was already off the presses that a lawyer advised that "drag queen" was libelous but that just plain "queen" would be fine. So Andy, Paul, Fred, Jed, Gerard, and I, plus whoever happened to walk in the door, spent about six hours sitting in the front of the loft going through bundle after bundle of inter/VIEWs and crossing out the word "drag" with black felt-tip pens, while Paul complained, "This is like doing penance—'I will never call him a drag queen again, I will never call him a drag queen again.' "

At 33 Union Square West, the magazine offices had been two rooms on the tenth floor, four floors away from the Factory, but after the move to 860 Broadway they were on the same floor as Andy's office and painting area, separated from these only by a wall. Andy seemed to regard the employees of Interview as stepchildren, different from the people who worked directly for him, who were "family." (One visitor, noticing the psychological distance from Andy between his personal employees and the staff of his magazine, observed, only half-joking, "I get the feeling that if the people who work for Interview were asked to name the one celebrity in the world they'd most like to meet, they'd all say, 'Andy Warhol.' " There were exceptions: Crossovers who worked at Interview but were also Andy's personal friends who went out with him socially—people like Bob Colacello and Catherine Guinness, a member of the Anglo-Irish brewery family—but generally, to Andy, the Interview people were part of his business life but not his emotional life. He referred to them as "them," and to us as "us."

While Andy's social life in the late sixties and early seventies was steered mainly by Fred, by 1975 Bob Colacello was also initiating many social occasions and some business deals. (All deals, however, had to be cleared with Fred.) From the growing circle of rich people he was becoming friendly with, Bob delivered a lot of portrait commissions, and he also got Andy publishing contracts. On the first book, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again), I did eight separate interviews with Andy on the basis of which I wrote chapters 1 through 8 and chapter 10. Then, using material from conversations Andy had taped between himself and Bob Colacello and Brigid Berlin, I wrote the introductory chapter and chapters 9, 11, 12, 13, and 14. It was the first major project Andy and I had worked on together, and after the book was published, in 1975, he asked me to co-author the second book with him—his memoirs of the sixties, which we decided to call Popism.

From 1975 on, the magazine was a great source of activity for Andy. That was the year he bought out newsprint manufacturer/art collector Peter Brant to become full owner and publisher, with Fred assuming the title of president. Until this point Andy had remained pretty much aloof from the day-to-day operation of the magazine, but now suddenly he was running in to look at art director Marc Balet's layouts or scheduling lunches in the conference room to pitch Interview to prospective advertisers.

It was the magazine more than anything else that kept Andy from passing into sixties history. Meeting creative new people—especially young kids—was always important to him; he thrived on it. But he knew that people only come to you if they think you have something to offer them. In the mid-sixties when he was cranking out his early, cheap, "underground" films at the rate, practically, of one a week, it was the possibility of getting into Andy's movies that drew people to the Factory. By the 1970s, however, with the price of making commercially exhibitable movies becoming prohibitive, Andy had few roles to offer people and not even the certainty that the movie being discussed would ever actually get made. Interview magazine more than filled the void.

Circulation had been growing every year. By 1976 Interview had a cachet of sophisticated self-mocking silliness that made celebrities actually want to be in it. Often Andy, usually with someone on the staff, did the cover interview himself. Every issue had to be stocked with people, and this was the new supply of fresh faces now coming by the office constantly. "We'll put you in the magazine" replaced "We'll put you in a movie" as Andy's most frequent promise. The terms "Interman," "Viewgirl," "Upfront," and "First Impression" were all Interview page headings for pictures of young, never-before-seen-in-print male and female beauties. Interview became the most glamorous magazine around. I once heard Bob on the phone reassuring a society matron: "Don't worry about your photograph—we retouch anyone over twenty."

1976 was also the year that Andy Warhol's Bad was shot in New York, in 35mm and with a union crew. The cast was a combination of our own "studio stars"—people like Geraldine Smith from Flesh and Cyrinda Foxe from around the corner on East 17th Street—and Hollywood professionals like Carroll Baker and Perry King. Jed directed Bad—I had co-written the screenplay—and it was well-received. (Vincent Canby's review in the New York Times said it was "more aware of what it's up to than any Warhol film… to date.")

Despite the movie's critical success, after making Bad, Jed never went back to work at the Factory—"the office"—again. He began buying and selling antiques, and then started his own decorating business, although he continued to live on the fourth floor of the Federal-style town house on East 66th Street that he had found for Andy and that Andy had moved into in 1974. Fred, meanwhile, had moved from his apartment on East 16th Street into the house on Lexington that Andy had just vacated.

For most of the seventies and continuing right up until Andy's death, finding people to commission him to do portraits was a major activity, since it brought in a big share of his annual income. No matter what other canvases he was working on for museum and gallery shows, there were always portraits in the works in some corner of the loft. Anyone—gallery dealers, friends, or employees—who brought in a commission got


  • "The ultimate self-portrait."—Boston Globe
  • "A remarkable literary achievement." —New York Magazine
  • "No study of Manhattan society in the strobe-lit 1970s or in the shadow of AIDS will be possible without consideration of THE ANDY WARHOL DIARIES, which provides an unforgettable portrait of what a set of people imagined themselves to be and of what they really were." —Baltimore Sun
  • "Warhol on Warhol, as dictated by Warhol...noble in its obsessiveness."—New York Times
  • "This extraordinarily revealing diary paints a more penetrating portrait of our time's Glitterati Era than any of Andy's fable canvases."—Forbes
  • "Warhol's observations about the stream of people around him are rarely less than brilliant."—Details
  • "A vivid picture of this enigmatic man...It abounds with celebrity gossip...It provides the definitive answer to the oft-asked question, 'What was Andy Warhol really like?'"—Philadelphia Inquirer
  • "Cruel, sexy, and sometimes heartbreaking...Like classic literary diarist—Pepys, Byron—Warhol is no neutral observer, but a character in his own right...People may pick up THE ANDY WARHOL DIARIES to see celebrities with (literary) pants down and spoons up there noses...But they'll remember the strange creature who watched it all happen."—Newsweek
  • " one emerges unscathed. Warhol managed to crystallize the times in which he lived better than just about anyone." —Variety
  • "The diaries go far beyond idle gossip. They are a re-creation of a time and a place in America...Endless fascinating...the Warhol diaries will stand for at least a century, if not more." —Detroit News
  • "Warhol's diaries will provide laughs, gasps and thrill for those he mentions, for those who want a quick peek through their shades."—New York Daily News
  • "The author sooner or later catches everyone he knows with their pants down...The tone is pure Warhol. At once insightful and distracted...A book that revels in nakedness."—Chicago Tribune
  • "A remarkable tour of Warhol's unusual frame of mind, the circles of slick celebrities he moved in, the friends he made, the enemies he made, the enemies he had, and the years he could not shake...The material seems so scandalous it's a wonder it made print." —Bergen Record
  • "Gossip lovers will revel in the roster of names parading through Warhol's life—Elizabeth Taylor, Jack Nicholson, and Mick Jagger only head the list—while others will find clues to Warhol the person in his descriptions and comments...The book does much to shed light on the character of a man who hid from an intrusive public while living in the blinding glare of a perpetual spotlight." —Houston Post
  • "Will have many going great, wow, and even golly."—Vanity Fair
  • "Great social anecdote a minute." —Village Voice

On Sale
May 24, 2022
Page Count
864 pages

Andy Warhol

About the Author

Pat Hackett, editor of THE ANDY WARHOL DIARIES, was one of Warhol’s closest confidantes. She co-authored POPism: The Warhol Sixties and Andy Warhol’s Party Book with him, and co-authored the screenplay for Bad, Warhol’s cult movie classic.

Learn more about this author