Edna Ferber (1885 –1968) was an American novelist, short story writer and playwright. Her novels include the Pulitzer Prize-winning So Big (1924), Show Boat (1926; made into the celebrated 1927 musical), Cimarron (1930; adapted into the 1931 film which won the Academy Award for Best Picture), Giant (1952; made into the 1956 film of the same name) and Ice Palace (1958), which also received a film adaptation in 1960.
In 1925, she won the Pulitzer Prize for her book, So Big. Ferber initially believed her draft of what would become So Big lacked a plot, glorified failure, and had a subtle theme that could easily be overlooked. When she sent the book to her usual publisher, Doubleday, she was surprised to learn that he strongly enjoyed the novel. This was reflected by the several hundreds of thousands of copies of the novel sold to the public. Following the award, the novel was made into a silent film starring Colleen Moore that same year. An early talkie movie remake followed in 1932, starring Barbara Stanwyck and George Brent, with Bette Davis in a supporting role. A 1953 remake of So Big starring Jane Wyman is the most popular version to modern audiences.
Riding off the popularity of So Big, Ferber’s next novel, Show Boat, was just as successful and shortly after its release, the idea of turning it into a musical was brought up. When composer Jerome Kern proposed this, Ferber was shocked, thinking it would be transformed into a typical light entertainment of the 1920s. It was not until Kern explained that he and Oscar Hammerstein II wanted to create a different type of musical that Ferber granted him the rights and it premiered on Broadway in 1927, and has been revived 8 times following its first run.
So Big is a 1924 novel written by Edna Ferber. The book was inspired by the life of Antje Paarlberg in the Dutch community of South Holland, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. It won the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1925.