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The Tacky South


Zora Neale Hurston

  • Anthropologist
  • Novelist
  • Short Story Writer
  • Essayist 
  • Born in Eatonville, Florida
  • Educated at Howard, Barnard, and Columbia University
  • Her writings focus primarily on rural black folk who represent the culture in which she grew up
McKay, Nellie. "Hurston, Zora Neale (1891-1960)." Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature, by George B. Perkins, et al., vol. 1, HarperCollins, 1991, p. 506. Gale Literature Resource Center

Kate Chopin

  • Novelist
  • Short-story writer
  • Widely considered the most important early feminist writer in America
  • Chopin's novel The Awakening (1899) is regarded as a groundbreaking classic.
  • Kate Chopin tested and challenged many of her era's assumptions about gender and race that still have the capacity to shock and question conventional beliefs.
"Kate Chopin (1850–1904)." The American Women's Almanac: 500 Years of Making History, Deborah G. Felder, Visible Ink Press, 1st edition, 2020. Credo Reference

Black and white image of a woman

Eudora Welty

  • One of the important American regional writers of the 20th century
  • Short Story Writer
  • Wrote about the inhabitants of rural Mississippi.
  • Known for her often comic, eccentric, grotesque, but nonetheless charming characters
  • Known for a style full of fierce wit and her skill at capturing the colorful dialect and speech patterns of the American South
"Welty, Eudora." The Columbia Encyclopedia, Paul Lagasse, and Columbia University, Columbia University Press, 8th edition, 2018. Credo Reference

Harper Lee

  • Born in Monroeville, Alabama
  • Studied law at the University of Alabama for four years before, moving to New York, to pursue a career as a writer.
  • Childhood friend of writer Truman Capote, who became a model for the character Dill in her only novel, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960),
  • Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1961
  • Often hailed as one of the most popular novels of the 20th Century, To Kill a Mockingbird has sold over thirty million copies.
Boswell, Marshall, and Carl Rollyson. "Lee, Harper." Encyclopedia of American Literature, Inc. Manly, Facts On File, 3rd edition, 2013. Credo Reference

Maya Angelou

  • Autobiographer
  • Poet
  • Novelist
  • Born in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Raised in Stamps, Arkansas
  • Has written for stage, screen and television.
  • Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1971 for poetry collection "Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie"
Lott, D. E. (2001). Maya Angelou 1928- In E. L. Haralson (Ed.), Encyclopedia of American poetry: the twentieth century. Routledge. Credo Reference.

Alice Walker

  • Novelist
  • Poet
  • Short Story Writer
  • Essayist
  • Born in Eatonton, Georgia
  • Her novel The Color Purple (1982) won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature
  • In the 1970s, Walker's search for Zora Neale Hurston, the writer and the woman, unearthed a literary foremother and contributed to a resurgence of interest in Hurston's work.
"Walker, Alice (1944 - )." The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English, edited by Ian Ousby, Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition, 2000. Credo Reference


Flannery O'Connor

  • Born on March 25, 1925 in Savannah, Georgia
  • An observant Catholic, Catholicism remained a vital force throughout her life and art
  • Attended Georgia State College for Women (now Georgia College and State University)
  • O'Connor's works won several awards during her life, a Rinehart-Iowa Fiction Award for first novel (1947), a National Institute of Arts and Letters grant (1957), and three first prize O. Henry Awards (1956, 1962, 1964), the National Book Award in 1972, and her letters, edited by Sally Fitzgerald under the name The Habit of Being, received a National Book Critics Circle Special Award for 1979 posthumously.
Baldwin, Debra ROMANICK, and DEBRA ROMANICK BALDWIN. "O'Connor, Flannery." Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Literature: The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction, Brian W. Shaffer, et al., Wiley, 1st edition, 2011. Credo Reference

Carson McCullers

  • Carson McCullers was born Lula Carson Smith in Columbus, Georgia on February 19, 1917
  • She abandoned her dreams of becoming a concert pianist to study creative writing at Columbia and New York University
  • In 1940, she wrote her acclaimed first novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
  • McCullers's second novel, Reflections in a Golden Eye, received scant praise
  • "The Ballad of the Sad Café" novella met with general acclaim
  • Carson McCullers was a highly regarded mid-century writer, with exceptional talent and numerous grants and awards, including two Guggenheim fellowships, three O. Henry prizes, an American Academy of Arts and Letters grant, and a New York Drama Critics Circle award.
"Carson McCullers (1917 - 1967)." The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story, edited by Blanche H. Gelfant, Columbia University Press, 1st edition, 2000. Credo Reference

Margaret Mitchell

  • Born on November 8, 1900, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
  • Wrote "Gone with the Wind," a sweeping epic set during the American Civil War and Reconstruction.
  • "Gone with the Wind" won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937 and was adapted into a film that won multiple Academy Awards.
  • Prior to becoming a novelist, Mitchell worked as a journalist for the Atlanta Journal.
  • Mitchell died on August 16, 1949, after being struck by a car while crossing the street with her husband.
Kort, Carol. "Mitchell, Margaret." A to Z of Women: American Women Writers, Carol Kort, Facts On File, 3rd edition, 2016. Credo Reference

Fannie Flagg

  • Born on September 21, 1944, in Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
  • Wrote "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe," a novel about a group of women in small-town Alabama.
  • "Fried Green Tomatoes" was adapted into a film in 1991.
  • Flagg is also a successful actress and screenwriter, having written for several popular TV shows.
  • Flagg has won multiple awards for her writing, including a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 1998.
D. F. (2006). Flagg, Fannie. Current Biography.67(11).

Sue Monk Kidd

  • Born on August 12, 1948, in Sylvester, Georgia, USA.
  • Wrote "The Secret Life of Bees," a novel set in South Carolina in the 1960s about a young white girl who seeks refuge with a family of beekeepers.
  • "The Secret Life of Bees" was a bestseller and was adapted into a film in 2008.
  • Kidd is also a prolific non-fiction writer and has written several memoirs and spiritual books.
  • Kidd has won multiple awards for her writing, including the Book Sense Book of the Year Award in 2004.
Barnett, India and Jessica Branton. "Sue Monk Kidd." New Georgia Encyclopedia, last modified Aug 6, 2019.

Natasha Tretheway

  • Born on April 26, 1966, in Gulfport, Mississippi, USA.
  • Wrote several award-winning poetry collections, including "Native Guard" and "Domestic Work."
  • Trethewey served as the Poet Laureate of the United States from 2012-2014.
  • She is also a professor of creative writing and English at Northwestern University.
  • Trethewey has won numerous awards for her poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2007.
Wilson, Mindy. "Natasha Trethewey." New Georgia Encyclopedia, 14 August 2008.


bell hooks

  • Born on September 25, 1952, in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, USA.
  • Wrote multiple influential books on feminism and social justice, including "Ain't I a Woman" and "Feminism Is for Everybody."
  • Hooks is also a cultural critic and has written extensively on race, class, and gender in popular culture.
  • She has taught at several universities, including Yale and Oberlin.
  • Hooks has won numerous awards for her writing and activism, including the American Book Award and the Lambda Literary Award.
"bell hooks (1952–)." African American Almanac, Lean'tin Bracks, Visible Ink Press, 1st edition, 2012. Credo Reference.

Flannery O'Connor


Alice Walker


Maya Angelou


Harper Lee


Eudora Welty


Zora Neale Hurston


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