Photo by Brennan Cavanaugh
Anne C. Heller ’73 is a magazine editor and the author of Ayn Rand and the World She Made, the first investigatory biography of the philosopher. She talks to The Independent about her time at the Antioch Review, being at the College during a time of turmoil, and a twenty-page monologue on money that a reader thought sounded just like Suze Orman.
How did you first hear of Antioch College?
Through the boyfriend of a friend of mine! He was going to Antioch, and I thought he was hip and cool. I looked into it and transferred from Boston University. Of course, I was there during a troubled period at the College. It was a period of turmoil. I made the best of it by working at the Antioch Review. My majors were American literature and history.
Who were some of your favorite professors?
Eric Horsting, Hannah Goldberg, Diane Sadoff in literature.
Larry Grauman was then the editor of the Antioch Review, and he taught a couple of journalism classes. [Grauman’s] claim to fame was, he placed an anonymous ad in the New York Review of Books looking for a buyer for the Review! We barricaded ourselves in the offices one summer. When I graduated, I became the managing editor for the Antioch Review for a year.
So did you get to co-op at the Review?
I spent two co-ops at the Review, and they were my favorite by far. I spent one co-op in Europe, and one I spent in New York, teaching at a private school.
What are some of your favorite memories of campus?
The fall, under those golden maple trees! Riding my bicycle all around the farmland that I hope is still there. Meeting Arthur Morgan, and spending time with him. I met so many people from the Midwest—my roommate was from a tiny town named after her family! But it taught me that there were progressive people all over the country. It feels like a sanctuary.
How did you get started on this Ayn Rand biography? Is this your first book?
It is my first book—I’ve been a magazine editor and a writer for most of my career. I was in the Magazine Lab at Condé Nast, working on a magazine that never got off the ground—Currency. Suze Orman got involved. She and I were working on a piece, and someone sent her the “money” speech from Atlas Shrugged, and said, “Suze, this sounds just like you!”
I was intrigued by this twenty-page “money” speech—everything I didn’t believe in—but argued in such a way that was flabbergasting. I realized there was no objective bio of Ayn Rand. [There were bios] that were far to the right of anything reasonable. She seemed ripe for the doing.
What are you working on now?
Right at this moment I’m working on a piece for Vanity Fair and looking for my next subject.
Would you be interested in attending Reunion 2013? The theme is “Antiochian Authors in the News.”
Sure! Of course!