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Southern Writers on Writing

Southern Writers on Writing

Edited by Susan Cushman
Foreword by Alan Lightman
Hardcover : 9781496815002, 192 pages, May 2018

A collection of essays for writers, readers, and lovers of all things southern


Contributions by Julie Cantrell, Katherine Clark, Susan Cushman, Jim Dees, Clyde Edgerton, W. Ralph Eubanks, John M. Floyd, Joe Formichella, Patti Callahan Henry, Jennifer Horne, Ravi Howard, Suzanne Hudson, River Jordan, Harrison Scott Key, Cassandra King, Alan Lightman, Sonja Livingston, Corey Mesler, Niles Reddick, Wendy Reed, Nicole Seitz, Lee Smith, Michael Farris Smith, Sally Palmer Thomason, Jacqueline Allen Trimble, M. O. Walsh, and Claude Wilkinson

The South is often misunderstood on the national stage, characterized by its struggles with poverty, education, and racism, yet the region has yielded an abundance of undeniably great literature. In Southern Writers on Writing, Susan Cushman collects twenty-six writers from across the South whose work celebrates southern culture and shapes the landscape of contemporary southern literature. Contributors hail from Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida.

Contributors such as Lee Smith, Michael Farris Smith, W. Ralph Eubanks, and Harrison Scott Key, among others, explore issues like race, politics, and family and the apex of those issues colliding. It discusses landscapes, voices in the South, and how writers write. The anthology is divided into six sections, including “Becoming a Writer;” “Becoming a Southern Writer;” “Place, Politics, People;” “Writing about Race;” “The Craft of Writing;” and “A Little Help from My Friends. ”


"Southern Writers on Writing, a new anthology of essays edited by Susan Cushman, is not the first attempt to plumb the depths of what it means, as Faulkner wrote, to ‘tell about the South. ’ But it is distinguished by a division into helpful categories and the presence of diverse voices. "

- Chapter 16

"Insightful, inspiring, and sometimes contentious, Southern Writers on Writing is as complicated and diverse as the South itself. This collection is required reading for anyone who hopes to understand our fraught and blessed region. "

- Beth Ann Fennelly, Poet Laureate of Mississippi

"This is no stodgy how-to book. Southern Writers on Writing is overflowing with good, strong voices—funny, caustic, compelling, and—yes—absurd. The writers Susan Cushman has assembled here understand this craft. They have endured the suffering that leads to great prose appearing so damn effortless. This collection is essential reading for emerging writers—as well as any fan of modern southern fiction. "

- Neil White, author of In the Sanctuary of Outcasts