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Mary Lee Settle, novelist and founder of the PEN/Faulkner Award, died Tuesday at her home in Ivy after a battle with cancer. She was 87.
Ms. Settle wrote at least 17 works of fiction since her first novel, "The Love Eaters," was published in 1954. She also wrote nonfiction, plays and children's books.
Ms. Settle, born in Charleston, W.Va., is best known for "The Beulah Quintet," a five-book series that chronicles the development of the United States through the lives of fictional characters living in her home state.
She received the National Book Award for fiction in 1978 for "Blood Tie," a novel about American and European expatriates living in Turkey. The book draws from three years she spent living in the country.
Ironically, Ms. Settle founded the PEN/Faulkner Award two years after receiving the National Book Award, believing it was little more than a "popularity contest" run by the publishing industry, said her son, Christopher Weathersbee.
PEN/Faulkner is awarded by writers.
Ms. Settle's body will be cremated. Memorial services have not been arranged yet, Weathersbee said.
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