11 Facts About Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery"BY Erin McCarthyJune 26, 2014On June 26, 1948, subscribers to The New Yorkerreceived a new issue of the magazine in the mail. There was nothing to outwardly indicate that it would be any different, or any more special, than any other issue. But inside was a story that editors at the magazine would, more than half a century later, call “perhaps the mostcontroversial short storyThe New Yorkerhas ever published”: Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.”Though now a classic, the story—about a small New England village whose residents follow an annual rite in which they draw slips of paper until, finally, one of them is selected to be stoned to death—caused an immediate outcry when it was published, and gave Jackson literary notoriety. “It was not my first published story, nor my last,” the writer recounted in a 1960 lecture, “but I have been assured over and over that if it had been the only story I ever wrote and published, there would still be people who would not forget my name.” Here are a few things you might not have known about the story.1. WRITING IT WAS A SNAP.Jackson, who lived in North Bennington, Vermont, wrote the story on a warm June day after running errands. She remembered laterthat the idea “had come to me while I was pushing my daughter up the hill in her stroller—it was, as I say, a warmmorning, and the hill was steep, and beside my daughter, the stroller held the day’s groceries—and perhaps the effort of that last 50 yards up the hill put an edge to the story.”The writing came easily; Jackson dashed out the story in under two hours,making only “two minor corrections” when she read it later—“I felt strongly that I didn’t want to fuss with it”—and sent it to her agent the next day. Though her agent didn’t care for "The Lottery," she sent it off to The New Yorkeranyway, telling Jackson in a note that it was her job to sell it, not like it.
2. WHEN THE STORY CAME IN, THE DECISION TO PUBLISH IT WAS