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SOUTHERN LIT POLL: Meet Our Judges

“Jedge not! lest ye be jedged. My first complaint Is I would druther not be called a judge. A witness maybe. My second complaint Is thanks for Inviting me! My third complaint Is that I could easily pick fifty best books, without ranking, so the ten above are...and I left out for example Flannery O'Connor and Faulkner because I think they will surely be Included by others, Larry Brown cause there just ain’t room. My fourth complaint Is why does this font In your form Insist on capitalizing every I at the beginning of a word.” —from Madison Smartt Bell's ballot.

 

William L. Andrews, Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has spent his scholarly career researching, writing about, and editing the work of African American writers from the South. He is the author of THE LITERARY CAREER OF CHARLES W. CHESNUTT and TO TELL A FREE STORY: THE FIRST CENTURY OF AFRO-AMERICAN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, 1760–1865. A past president of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature, Andrews is the general editor of THE LITERATURE OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH: A NORTON ANTHOLOGY.

Darnell Arnoult's novel SUFFICIENT GRACE debuted to a starred review in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. Her collection WHAT TRAVELS WITH US: POEMS was named SIBA Poetry Book of the Year and won the 2005 Weatherford Award for Appalachian Literature.

Madison Smartt Bell is the author of twelve novels and two collections of short stories. His novel DOCTOR SLEEP was adapted as a film, CLOSE YOUR EYES, starring Goran Visnjic, Paddy Considine, and Shirley Henderson. Born and raised in Tennessee, he has lived in New York and in London and now lives in Baltimore, Maryland. He is currently Director of the Kratz Center for Creative Writing at Goucher College, and has been a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers since 2003.

Ada Liana Bidiuc is a new college graduate searching for a job and writing in the South. She loves Eastern European poetry and Walker Percy, and thinks we must remain politically involved at all costs, if for no other reason than to preserve the beauty.

John Biguenet is the author of OYSTER and THE TORTURER'S APPRENTICE, as well as four other books and such prize-winning plays as RISING WATER and SHOTGUN. Past president of the American Literary Translators Association and an O. Henry Award winner, he is the Robert Hunter Distinguished University Professor at Loyola University in New Orleans.

John Blair is the author of four books, including the Drue Heinz Prize–winning collection of short stories, AMERICAN STANDARD. He teaches American Literature and Creative Writing at Texas State University.

Thomas Bonner, Jr., Professor Emeritus at Xavier University of Louisiana, has books and monographs on William Faulkner, Kate Chopin, Edgar Allan Poe, Southern fiction, and Southern poetry. He edited XAVIER REVIEW and XAVIER REVIEW PRESS. Since the flood after Hurricane Katrina, he has lived outside New Orleans in River Ridge, Louisiana.

Rick Bragg is the author of several books, including the bestselling and award-winning ALL OVER BUT THE SHOUTIN', AVA'S MAN, and THE PRINCE OF FROGTOWN. He is the Clarence Cason Professor of Writing at the University of Alabama.

Will Brantley is the author of FEMININE SENSE IN SOUTHERN MEMOIR and articles on Zora Neale Hurston, Carson McCullers, and Lillian Smith, among others. He lives in Nashville and is a professor of Southern literature at Middle Tennessee State University.

Wendy Brenner is the author of two books and has been a contributing writer for THE OXFORD AMERICAN since 1996. She teaches creative writing in the MFA program at UNC-Wilmington.

Robert H. Brinkmeyer, Jr., is an Emily Brown Jefferies Professor of English and professor of Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina. He has published widely in Southern literature and culture and is the author of five books, the most recent of which, THE FOURTH GHOST: WHITE SOUTHERN WRITERS AND EUROPEAN FASCISM, 1930-1950, won this year's Warren-Brooks Award for excellence in literary criticism.

Kevin Brockmeier has published six books of fiction, most recently the novel THE BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DEAD and the story collection THE VIEW FROM THE SEVENTH LAYER. His stories and essays have appeared frequently in THE OXFORD AMERICAN. He was raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he continues to live today.

George Brosi grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and worked as an activist throughout the sixties, a back-to-the-lander in the seventies, a bookseller in the eighties, a professor in the nineties, and has edited APPALACHIAN HERITAGE, a literary quarterly, in this decade.

John Brummett, a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, is a newspaperman and a syndicated columnist on politics for the Stephens Media Group in Little Rock.

Sidney Burris, an author, essayist, and poet, was born and raised in Viriginia. He has been teaching English, humanities, and Tibetan studies at the University of Arkansas since 1986.

William Caverlee is a contributing writer for THE OXFORD AMERICAN.

William Bedford Clark
is professor of English at Texas A&M University and general editor of the ROBERT PENN WARREN CORRESPONDENCE PROJECT. He has published widely on Southern literature and American studies.

Catherine Clinton has served as president of the Southern Association for Women's History and has written and/or edited over two dozen books. She holds a chair in American history at Queen's University Belfast, where she heads a master's program in U.S. history. Her first book, THE PLANTATION MISTRESS: WOMAN'S WORLD IN THE OLD SOUTH, appeared in 1982 and her recent biography, HARRIET TUBMAN: THE ROAD TO FREEDOM, was named one of the best non-fiction books of 2004 by the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR and the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Her latest project, MRS. LINCOLN: A LIFE, was published by HarperCollins in 2009.

James C. Cobb
is the B. Phinizy Spalding Distinguished Professor in the History of the American South at the University of Georgia. His books include AWAY DOWN SOUTH: A HISTORY OF SOUTHERN IDENTITY and THE MOST SOUTHERN PLACE ON EARTH: THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA AND THE ROOTS OF REGIONAL IDENTITY.

Author and poet Judith Ortiz Cofer is the Regents' and Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia. Her work has appeared in THE GEORGIA REVIEW, KENYON REVIEW, SOUTHERN REVIEW, GLAMOUR and other journals. Her work has been included in numerous textbooks and anthologies including: BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 1991, THE NORTON BOOK OF WOMEN'S LIVES, THE NORTON INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE, THE NORTON INTRODUCTION TO POETRY, THE HEATH ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE, THE PUSHCART PRIZE, and the O. HENRY PRIZE STORIES. Cofer is currently working on a multi-genre collection based on her experiences living, writing, and teaching in the Deep South tentatively titled, PEACH PIT CORAZÓN.

Donn Cooper
has taken a brief sojourn from his literary ambitions to make a go of dirt farming near the headwaters of the Oconee River (which James Joyce mentions in FINNEGAN'S WAKE). It's an experiment to determine which has the better pay scale: growing black heirloom tomatoes from Siberia or earnest, polysyllabic musing on the human condition. The spiritual reward for both is comparable, but right now the jury's still out on financial returns, meaning he still doesn't have two nickels to rub together. And while a writer's equipment does provide him with rolling papers for his cigarettes, at least with tomatoes he can still eat.

Brannon Costello is associate professor of English at Louisiana State University, where he teaches and writes about Southern literature and comics (usually separately but sometimes together). He is the author of articles on Eudora Welty, Richard Wright, Jack Butler, Lewis Nordan, and others, and of the book PLANTATION AIRS: RACIAL PATERNALISM AND THE TRANSFORMATIONS OF CLASS IN SOUTHERN FICTION, 1945-1971.

Hope Coulter, a novelist and poet, is a native of New Orleans who grew up in Alexandria, Louisiana. She teaches creative writing at Hendrix College and lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dennis Covington is the author of five books, including the novel LIZARD and the memoir SALVATION ON SAND MOUNTAIN, which was a finalist for the 1995 National Book Award.

Moira Crone is the author of four books of fiction, most recently WHAT GETS INTO US, stories. In 2009, she won the Robert Penn Warren Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers for the body of her work. Her stories have appeared in THE NEW YORKER, SOUTHERN REVIEW, and in NEW STORIES FROM THE SOUTH five times, as well as a dozen other anthologies. The recipient of an NEA, a fellowship from the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe-Harvard, and winner of the Faulkner/Wisdom Prize for Novella, and the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Prize for short story, she teaches at LSU and directed the MFA Program there from 1997 to 2002. She lives in New Orleans.

Critic and essayist Hal Crowther is the author of UNARMED BUT DANGEROUS, CATHEDRALS OF KUDZU and most recently GATHER AT THE RIVER, a collection including many essays from his OXFORD AMERICA Dealer's Choice series, which was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle prize for Criticism. Prizes for his books and commentary include the H.L. Mencken Award, the Lillian Smith Award, the Fellowship Prize from the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the Russell J. Jandoli Prize for Excellence in Journalism. Another book of essays, DEPARTURES, will be published in 2010. He lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and is married to the novelist Lee Smith.

Jim Davis is director of the Louisiana Center for the Book and the Louisiana Book Festival.

Melissa Delbridge is the author of FAMILY BIBLE, a collection of essays exploring themes of race, gender, and sexuality as they impacted her life growing up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the 1960s and 1970s. The collection recently won the Great Lakes Colleges Award for nonfiction. She currently works at Duke University.

Bronwen Dickey's essays and journalism have appeared in THE BEST AMERICAN TRAVEL WRITING 2009, NEWSWEEK, THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE and the INDEPENDENT WEEKLY, among others. Previously she wrote about the Chattooga River in North Georgia for THE OA's 2008 "Best of the South" issue. She lives in North Carolina.

Susan V. Donaldson is NEH Professor of English & American Studies at the College of William and Mary, where she has taught since 1985. With Anne Goodwyn Jones, she is co-editor of HAUNTED BODIES: GENDER AND SOUTHERN TEXTS, and she is also the author of COMPETING VOICES: THE AMERICAN NOVEL: 1865-1914, which won a Choice "Outstanding Academic Book" award, and some four dozen articles on Southern literature, culture, and art. She is currently working on two books, one focusing on the politics of storytelling in the U.S. South and the other on Mississippi writers and "the Long Civil Rights Movement."

Terrence Doody is a professor in the Department of English at Rice University, where he teaches courses in modernism, the novel, and contemporary literature. His publications include CONFESSION AND COMMUNITY IN THE NOVEL and AMONG OTHER THINGS: A DESCRIPTION OF THE NOVEL as well as recent essays on Susan Sontag, Norman Mailer, architectural theory, and the poets Eavan Boland and Robert Hass. He is the recipient of grants from the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities and is an eight-time winner of a George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching.

Dennis M. Dooley, who holds a doctorate from Vanderbilt University, has just retired from Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina as Professor Emeritus of English after forty years of teaching.

Pia Z. Ehrhardt's stories have been widely published in magazines including MCSWEENEY'S QUARTERLY CONCERN, THE MISSISSIPPI REVIEW, THE OXFORD AMERICAN, and NARRATIVE MAGAZINE, and anthologized in the 2006 NORTON ANTHOLOGY SUDDEN FICTION: SHORT-SHORTS FROM AMERICA AND BEYOND. Her work can be heard on NPR's Selected Shorts and KQED's Writers' Block. She is the recipient of the 2005 Narrative Prize and a Bread Loaf Fellowship. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and son.

Lolis Eric Elie is a New Orleans-born writer whose literary interests range from barbecue to jazz to architectural preservation.

Farrell Evans has been a writer at SPORTS ILLUSTRATED since 2002, covering golf, race and sports, and business. He has won awards for writing and investigative reporting. He is an adjutant assistant professor at the Columbia University Journalism School and while he lives in New York City, he grew up in rural Georgia.

Susannah Felts is back in Nashville, city of her youth, hoping to help young scribes (and old ones, too) hone their craft while she does a bit more writing of her own. She's the author of THIS WILL GO DOWN ON YOUR PERMANENT RECORD, a YA/adult crossover title set in—you guessed it—Nashville, Tennessee, and her fiction and essays have appeared in QUICK FICTION, PINDELDYBOZ.COM, ACM, and other publications. She's in hot pursuit of teaching/writing/editing gigs and her fifteen-month-old daughter's delighted grins.

Ellen Ann Fentress's essays have been published by THE OXFORD AMERICAN and the NEW YORK TIMES. A longtime Mississippi journalist, she has worked for REUTERS, TIME, and THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.

Gary L. Fisketjon is vice president and editor-at-large at Alfred A. Knopf.

Marc Fitten is editor of THE CHATTAHOOCHEE REVIEW. His novel, VALERIA'S LAST STAND, was published this year in ten countries. He has written for the NEW YORK TIMES, INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, ESQUIRE.COM, PRAIRIE SCHOONER, and other fine literary journals.

Joseph M. Flora, professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has recently been serving as acting director of the Center for the Study of the American South. His books on Southern literature include THE COMPANION TO SOUTHERN LITERATURE, edited with Lucinda MacKethan and SOUTHERN WRITERS: A NEW BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY, edited with Amber Vogel.

Connie May Fowler is the author of six novels and one memoir, including the Southern Book Critics Circle Award recipient, BEFORE WOMEN HAD WINGS. Her latest novel, HOW CLARISSA BURDEN LEARNED TO FLY, will be published in April 2010.

A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Colin Fox is a senior editor at Simon & Schuster, where he publishes a wide range of fiction and nonfiction with a particular focus on good storytelling. His dad is the well-known Southern author William Price Fox.

Tom Franklin's work HELL AT THE BREECH, a novel based somewhat on events Franklin heard about growing up in Alabama, was published in May of 2003. Tom and his wife Beth Ann Fennelly (now associate professor at UM) have a daughter, Anna Claire, and a son, Thomas. He continues to teach in the University of Mississippi's MFA program. His newest novel, SMONK, was published in 2006. It is a violent and savage tale of a murdering rapist who has terrorized the small town of Old Texas, Alabama, for years, and his trial in 1911.

Bill Friskics-Warren has written about music, books, and movies for publications ranging from the NEW YORK TIMES and the WASHINGTON POST to NO DEPRESSION and the NASHVILLE SCENE. He lives in Nashville.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
, is director of the W.E.B. Dubois Institute for African and African-American Research and editor in chief of THEROOT.COM. He has hosted AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES, a notable PBS series tracing the lineage of such luminaries as Oprah Winfrey and Chris Tucker.

William Gay is the author of three novels and a collection of short stories. His fourth novel, THE LOST COUNTRY, is forthcoming in November 2009. His short story "I Hate to See that Evening Sun Go Down" was recently made into a film entitled THAT EVENING SUN, starring Hal Holbrook and Ray McKinnon. Gay lives in Hohenwald, Tennessee.

Ben George is editor of the literary journal ECOTONE and the nonfiction anthology THE BOOK OF DADS. He lives with his wife and daughter in North Carolina and teaches at UNC Wilmington.

Molly Giles is the author of a novel, IRON SHOES, and two prize-winning collections of short stories, ROUGH TRANSLATIONS and CREEK WALK. She teaches at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Michael Gills was McKean Poetry Fellow at the University of Arkansas and Randall Jarrell Fellow in Fiction in the MFA Program at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. His work is currently featured in THE OXFORD AMERICAN'S "Best of the South" issue and VERB 4: AN AUDIO QUARTERLY. Other fiction has appeared in SHENANDOAH, BOULEVARD, THE GETTYSBURG REVIEW, THE GREENSBORO REVIEW, NEW STORIES FROM THE SOUTH, and elsewhere. WHY I LIE: STORIES won the Utah Arts Publication Prize, was a finalist for the Utah Humanities Book Prize, the Arkansas Porter Prize, and was chosen by SOUTHERN REVIEW as one of the top debut books of 2002. He is currently marketing a second book of stories, THE DEATH OF BONNIE & CLYDE and a novel, GO LOVE.

Don Graham is the author of numerous books, including NO NAME ON THE BULLET: A BIOGRAPHY OF AUDIE MURPHY, COWBOYS AND CADILLACS: HOW HOLLYWOOD LOOKS AT TEXAS, and KINGS OF TEXAS: THE 150-YEAR SAGA OF AN AMERICAN RANCHING EMPIRE. Among recent works edited by Graham is LONE STAR LITERATURE: A TEXAS ANTHOLOGY. Graham is the J. Frank Dobie Regents Professor of American and English Literature at the University of Texas.

John Grammer teaches English at the University of the South, where he also directs the Sewanee School of Letters. Born and raised in Texas, educated in Tennessee and Virginia, he has written a book, PASTORAL AND POLITICS IN THE OLD SOUTH, and any number of essays and reviews about the literature of the South, a subject he teaches and thinks about all the time.

Richard Gray is the first specialist in American literature to be elected a Fellow of the British Academy. His books include THE LITERATURE OF MEMORY: MODERN WRITERS OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH; WRITING THE SOUTH: IDEAS OF AN AMERICAN REGION; AMERICAN POETRY OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY; THE LIFE OF WILLIAM FAULKNER: A CRITICAL BIOGRAPHY; SOUTHERN ABERRATIONS: WRITERS OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH AND THE PROBLEMS OF REGIONALISM; A HISTORY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE; A COMPANION TO THE LITERATURE AND CULTURE OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH; and A WEB OF WORDS: THE GREAT DIALOGUE OF SOUTHERN LITERATURE. He is Professor of Literature at the University of Essex and Barbara Lester Methvin Distinguished Visiting Professor of Southern Studies at the University of Georgia.

Chris Green, an associate professor at Marshall University, grew up in Kentucky where his Senior AP teacher assured him, "There is no such thing as a great writer from Kentucky." In response, he edited COAL: A POETRY ANTHOLOGY and co-edited RADICALISM IN THE SOUTH SINCE RECONSTRUCTION, and his book THE SOCIAL LIFE OF POETRY: APPALACHIA, RACE, AND RADICAL MODERNISM is due out this November.

Orangeburg, SC, native Michael Griffith's books are BIBLIOPHILIA: A NOVELLA AND STORIES and SPIKES: A NOVEL, both from Arcade. He's just finished a new novel, TROPHY. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in THE OXFORD AMERICAN, NEW ENGLAND REVIEW, VIRGINIA QUARTERLY REVIEW, SALMAGUNDI, SOUTHWEST REVIEW, GOLF WORLD, FIVE POINTS, BLACKBIRD, THE WASHINGTON POST, and other periodicals. He served as the associate editor of THE SOUTHERN REVIEW. Griffith teaches at the University of Cincinnati and teaches in the Sewanee School of Letters. In 2004 he founded YELLOW SHOE FICTION, an original-fiction series from LSU Press.

Allan Gurganus lives in North Carolina. His own homemade all-time best Southern fiction includes OLDEST LIVING CONFEDERATE WIDOW TELLS ALL, WHITE PEOPLE, PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS, and THE PRACTICAL HEART. He is finishing a collection of stories and novellas while at work on a long novel.

Minrose Gwin is the author of WISHING FOR SNOW: A MEMOIR and The QUEEN OF PALMYRA: A NOVEL (forthcoming HarperPerennial) and three scholarly books in Southern literature. She was co-editor of the NORTON ANTHOLOGY LITERATURE OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH and is Kenan Eminent Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jamey Hatley is a native of Memphis who now lives in New Orleans. A true daughter of the Delta, she believes fiercely in the power of sweet tea and books to heal. She is at work on a novel-still-in-progress.

Donald Hays is the author of two novels, THE DIXIE ASSOCIATION and THE HANGMAN'S CHILDREN, and a collection of stories, DYING LIGHT. He teaches fiction writing at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Graham Hillard
lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where he is nearing the completion of his first novel. He teaches English and Creative Writing at Trevecca Nazarene University.

Fred Hobson is Lineberger Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is author and editor of more than a dozen books, including, most recently, OFF THE RIM: BASKETBALL AND OTHER RELIGIONS IN A CAROLINA CHILDHOOD, winner of the 2009 Cecil Woods Award for Nonfiction.

A native of Mississippi, Kenneth Holditch grew up in Tupelo, where one of his schoolmates was none other than Elvis Presley. He taught at the University of New Orleans for thirty-two years, created a literary walking tour of the French Quarter, has published three books on Tennessee Williams, and co-wrote GALATOIRE'S: BIOGRAPHY OF A BISTRO, a tribute to another of his favorite pursuits, fine dining in New Orleans.

John Holman is the author of SQUABBLE AND OTHER STORIES and LUMINOUS MYSTERIES. He is a recipient of the Whiting Writers Award and directs the creative writing program at Georgia State University.

M. Thomas Inge is a professor of humanities at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, where he teaches and writes about Southern literature, American humor, and comic art. He is editor of the volume on literature in the NEW ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SOUTHERN CULTURE, and he received the 2008 Richard Beale Davis Award for lifetime contributions to Southern letters.

Joshilyn Jackson is the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of GODS IN ALABAMA, BETWEEN GEORGIA, and THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING. Her fourth novel, BACKSEAT SAINTS, is forthcoming from Grand Central in June of 2010.

Jay Jennings
was born and lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. His book about his hometown, CARRY THE ROCK, will be published by Rodale in fall 2010.

Suzanne Jones
is professor of English and chair of the English Department at the University of Richmond. She is the author of RACE MIXING: SOUTHERN FICTION SINCE THE SIXTIES and a number of articles on Southern literature, and the editor of GROWING UP IN THE SOUTH, CROSSING THE COLOR LINE: READINGS IN BLACK AND WHITE, POVERTY AND PROGRESS IN THE U.S. SOUTH (with Mark Newman), and SOUTH TO A NEW PLACE: REGION, LITERATURE, AND CULTURE (with Sharon Monteith).

Hillary Jordan received her BA from Wellesley College and her MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. Her first novel, MUDBOUND, published by Algonquin Books in March 2008, was awarded the 2006 Bellwether Prize for fiction, founded by Barbara Kingsolver to recognize debut novels that address issues of social justice. It won a 2009 Alex Award from the American Library Association and was the 2008 NAIBA Fiction Book of the Year. Hillary lives in Tivoli, NY.

Jean Ross Justice's short fiction has been published in many literary journals. A collection, THE END OF A GOOD PARTY AND OTHER STORIES, came out last winter from the University of Tampa Press. She lives in Iowa City, Iowa.

Richard H. King
is professor emeritus at the University of Nottingham and author of several books, including RACE, CULTURE, AND THE INTELLECTUALS.

Jack Temple Kirby is W.E. Smith Professor of History emeritus at Miami University (in Ohio). He is author of seven books (including MEDIA-MADE DIXIE, RURAL WORLDS LOST, and MOCKINGBIRD SONG, which won the 2007 Bancroft Prize), editor of another, and was editor of the STUDIES IN RURAL CULTURE series with the University of North Carolina Press. Kirby is currently president of the Southern Historical Association.

Michael Knight is the author of a novel, DIVINING ROD, two collections of short stories, and a collection of novellas, THE HOLIDAY SEASON. His fiction has been published in magazines and journals such as ESQUIRE, THE NEW YORKER, PARIS REVIEW, THE OXFORD AMERICAN, and SOUTHERN REVIEW, and has been anthologized in BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES, BEST OF THE SOUTH, and NEW STORIES FROM THE SOUTH: THE YEAR'S BEST 1999, 2003, 2004, and 2009. He lives in Knoxville with his wife and two daughters and directs the Creative Writing Program at the University of Tennessee.

Bill Koon just retired after teaching contemporary Southern fiction for several decades at Clemson University. He worked all three shifts. He chaired the Clemson English Department twice and taught Southern fiction in Austria as a Senior Fulbright Lecturer.

Michael Kreyling has written books on Southern literature and Eudora Welty. He is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University.

Brad Land is the author of GOAT and PILGRIMS UPON THE EARTH.

Rod Lorenzen, a longtime Little Rock bookseller and journalist, currently manages the book publishing division of The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies.

John Lowe is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Louisiana State University, and has published seven books, on figures such as William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Ernest Gaines, and Richard Wright. He's the current president of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature.

Chauncey Mabe is a freelance literary journalist. For twenty-three years, he was the book editor for the SUN SENTINEL in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Greil Marcus is descended from the Greils of Montgomery, Alabama. He is the author of MYSTERY TRAIN, THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME, and other books, and lives in Berkeley, California.

Georgia-born Philip Martin is an editor and columnist at the ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE and the author of THE SHORTSTOP'S SON and THE ARTIFICIAL SOUTHERNER.

Wyatt Mason is a contributing editor of HARPER'S and writes for THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS, and THE NEW YORKER. In 2006 he won a National Magazine Award for his writing in HARPER'S.

Hubert H. McAlexander
, author of PETER TAYLOR: A WRITER'S LIFE, is Josiah Meigs Professor in the Department of English at the University of Georgia. His interests include biographies and Southern literature and culture.

Jill McCorkle is the author of five novels and four story collections, most recent being GOING AWAY SHOES. She teaches at North Carolina State University.

Molly McGehee is an assistant professor of English and director of the Southern Studies minor at Presbyterian College, located in Clinton, South Carolina, about forty miles from where she grew up in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She worked as an intern for THE OXFORD AMERICAN during the summer of 1998.

Janna McMahan is the author of the novels CALLING HOME and THE OCEAN INSIDE and the novella DECORATIONS. Her short fiction has won numerous awards and been included in journals such as WIND, YAMASSEE, LIMESTONE and THE NANTAHALA REVIEW and in the anthologies ALIMENTUM and WE ALL LIVE DOWNSTREAM. A Kentucky native, McMahan now lives in South Carolina with her family.

Rich Megraw is an Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Alabama and is the author of CONFRONTING MODERNITY: ART AND SOCIETY IN LOUISIANA.

Corey Mesler
has published two novels, TALK: A NOVEL IN DIALOGUE and WE ARE BILLION-YEAR-OLD CARBON. He has also published numerous chapbooks and one full-length poetry collection, SOME IDENTITY PROBLEMS. His book of short stories, LISTEN, came out in March of 2009. He has been nominated for a Pushcart numerous times, and one of his poems was chosen for Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac. He has two novels due out in the next year. With his wife, he runs Burke's Book Store in Memphis, Tennessee.

Co-editor of BOOKFORUM, Albert Mobilio is the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and the National Book Critics Circle award for reviewing. His books of poetry include BENDABLE SIEGE, THE GEOGRAPHICS, ME WITH ANIMAL TOWERING, and LETTERS FROM MAYHEM.

Speer Morgan is the author of a collection of short stories and five novels, including THE FRESHOUR CYLINDERS, for which he received an American Book Award. He was twice winner of Prairie Schooner's Lawrence Foundation prize in fiction and, in 2008, of Shenandoah's Goodheart Prize for the best story of 2008. He teaches fiction writing and is the editor of THE MISSOURI REVIEW.

A Mississippi native, Keith Lee Morris is the author of two novels, THE GREYHOUND GOD and THE DART LEAGUE KING, and a story collection, THE BEST SEATS IN THE HOUSE. A second story collection is forthcoming from Tin House Books in 2010. His "Southern" credentials include a selection in NEW STORIES FROM THE SOUTH 2006 and the Eudora Welty Prize in Fiction from THE SOUTHERN REVIEW. He teaches creative writing at Clemson University.

Michael O'Brien is professor of American Intellectual History at the University of Cambridge. He has written extensively on the South and is probably best known for CONJECTURES OF ORDER: INTELLECTUAL LIFE AND THE AMERICAN SOUTH, 1810-1860, which won the Bancroft Prize and was a Nominated Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History.
 
Ted Ownby
is the director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.

Willard Pate
grew up in Hawkinsville, Georgia, a small town in the center of the state. He earned a Ph.D. from Emory University and teaches Southern Literature at Furman University.

David Payne is the author of five novels, including EARLY FROM THE DANCE, RUIN CREEK, and, most recently, BACK TO WANDO PASSO. He lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, with his family and is at work on a memoir, BAREFOOT TO AVALON, about his relationship with his bipolar brother. Payne, who has taught at Bennington and Duke, is a member of the MFA creative writing faculty at Queens University of Charlotte, and will serve as writer-in-residence at Hollins University in the coming year.

Jack Pendarvis has written four books, none of which are the best of anything.

Dale Ray Phillips's book of stories, MY PEOPLE'S WALTZ, was published in 1999 by W.W. Norton and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Deer, Arkansas.

Previous fiction and nonfiction by Matthew Pitt appeared in THE OXFORD AMERICAN 63 and 65. His work was recently cited in the BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES SERIES. His first book, a story collection called ATTENTION, PLEASE. NOW won the Autumn House Prize, and will be published by that press early next year.

J. E. Pitts
has served as the poetry editor of THE OXFORD AMERICAN since January 2000, and has been involved closely with the magazine since its inception in late 1989. His first collection of poems, THE WEATHER OF DREAMS, was published by David Robert Books of Cincinnati in 2007. An occasional illustrator for THE OA, Pitts is also a visual artist whose paintings are owned by musician Marty Stuart and late film director Robert Altman, among others. He also creates artwork through photography, songwriting, and recording. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi.

Noel Polk
is Professor Emeritus of English and editor of THE MISSISSIPPI QUARTERLY at Mississippi State University. He has published widely on Faulkner and Welty. His books include CHILDREN OF THE DARK HOUSE, FAULKNER AND WELTY AND THE SOUTHERN LITERARY TRADITION, EUDORA WELTY: A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF HER WORK, and OUTSIDE THE SOUTHERN MYTH.
 
Peggy Whitman Prenshaw
is a humanities scholar in residence at Millsaps College, and Frey Professor Emerita of Southern Studies at LSU. She is a series editor of the University Press of Mississippi's Literary Conversations series, and is currently completing a lengthy study of Southern women's autobiographies.

S.L. Price is a senior writer at SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, and the author of three books, including the just-published HEART OF THE GAME: LIFE, DEATH AND MERCY IN MINOR LEAGUE AMERICA.

Ron Rash, an American poet, short story writer and novelist, is the Parris Distinguished Professor in Appalachian Cultural Studies at Western Carolina University. His first book is a collection of short stories titled THE NIGHT THE NEW JESUS FELL TO EARTH. Since then, Rash has published three collections of poetry, three short story collections, and four novels, all to wide critical acclaim and several awards and honors. Rash's poems and stories have appeared in more than one hundred magazines and journals over the years. With each new book, Rash has confirmed his position as a central and significant Appalachian writer alongside well-established names like Fred Chappell, Lee Smith, and Robert Morgan. SERENA, Rash's latest release, has received favorable reviews nationwide and was a 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist.

Shannon Ravenel
has worked in publishing for almost fifty years: at Houghton Mifflin's trade editorial department from 1961-1971, as series editor of THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES from 1977-1990, as a co-founder with Louis Rubin of Algonquin Books in 1982, as Algonquin's editorial director from 1992 to 2001, and as editor of twenty volumes of NEW STORIES FROM THE SOUTH. In 2001, she created a new imprint for Algonquin called Shannon Ravenel Books.

Paul Reyes
is editor-at-large at THE OXFORD AMERICAN. His writing has also appeared in HARPER'S, the NEW YORK TIMES, LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK REVIEW, DETAILS, and SLATE. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Jonathan Reynolds, a playwright and screenwriter, has had nine plays produced in New York, five movies in Hollywood, and also did a stint as a food writer for six years for the NEW YORK TIMES.

Michelle Richmond is the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of THE YEAR OF FOG, NO ONE YOU KNOW, DREAM OF THE BLUE ROOM, and THE GIRL IN THE FALL-AWAY DRESS. A native of Mobile, Alabama, she makes her home in San Francisco.

Diane Roberts is a native Floridian, was educated at Oxford University and is now professor of Creative Writing at Florida State University. She is an essayist for NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO, a documentary-maker for the BBC, and a columnist for the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES NEWSPAPER. Her work has appeared in the NEW YORK TIMES, the WASHINGTON POST and the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. Her most recent book is DREAM STATE.

Louis Rubin, Jr., was a professor of literature at the University of North Carolina and the founder and editorial director of ALGONQUIN BOOKS. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

James Emmett Ryan teaches American literature at Auburn University, where he currently serves as chair of the Department of English.
 
Peter J. Schmidt teaches American literature at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. He has published on Eudora Welty, Peter Taylor, and other authors. His latest book is SITTING IN DARKNESS: NEW SOUTH FICTION, EDUCATION, AND THE RISE OF JIM CROW COLONIALISM, 1865-1920.

Jeff Sharlet has been migrating north for a decade, from Washington to Philadelphia to New York to Boston. He's currently working on an article about polar bears. He is the author of THE FAMILY, co-author of KILLING THE BUDDHA, and co-editor of BELIEVER, BEWARE. An essay he wrote for THE OXFORD AMERICAN is the seed of his next book, THE HAMMER SONG.

Dana Shavin is originally from Atlanta, but resisted nominating the late Norman Shavin's tour de force, THE ATLANTA CENTURY, as best book out of an admirable anti-nepotistic ethic. Her essays have previously appeared in THE OXFORD AMERICAN, ALASKA QUARTERLY REVIEW, FOURTH GENRE, PUERTO DEL SOL, and THE SUN, and she is a columnist for THE CHATTANOOGA TIMES FREE PRESS. She is at work on a memoir entitled A BETTER HOUSE.

Cynthia Shearer holds an M.A. in English from the University of Mississippi and is the author of two works of fiction. Her work has appeared in such publications as TRI-QUARTERLY, THE MISSOURI REVIEW, THE QUARTERLY, THE OXFORD AMERICAN, THE HUNGRY MIND REVIEW and SPEAKEASY. Her first novel won the 1996 prize for fiction from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters, and she was the recipient of a fiction fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2000. Shearer says, "As a writer, I've always been interested in multiple perspectives, and in how big historical events such as wars and immigrant surges shape ordinary life for everyday characters."

David S. Shields
, McClintock Professor of Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina, has written books on the colonial and antebellum periods of American and Southern letters. He has been heavily involved in issues of sustainable agriculture, heading the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation. He has contributed to the first two volumes of A HISTORY OF THE BOOK IN AMERICA and edited the journal EARLY AMERICAN LITERATURE and the Library of America's anthology, AMERICAN POETRY: THE 17TH & 18TH CENTURIES. He is currently writing a book about agriculture and the rise of gastronomy in America from 1800 to 1880 as well as reviving the heirloom benne (sesame seed) in South Carolina agriculture.

George Singleton has published four collections of stories and two novels. He is a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow.

Floyd Skloot
is the author of fifteen books, most recently the memoir THE WINK OF THE ZENITH: THE SHAPING OF A WRITER'S LIFE. Skloot has won three Pushcart Prizes, a Pen USA Literary Award, an Independent Publishers Book Award, and been included in THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS, BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE WRITING, BEST SPIRITUAL WRITING, and BEST FOOD WRITING anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Lee Smith is the author of eleven novels, including ORAL HISTORY, SAVING GRACE, THE DEVIL'S DREAM, and FAIR AND TENDER LADIES, plus three collections of short stories. Her novel THE LAST GIRLS was a NEW YORK TIMES bestseller as well as a winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. A retired professor of English at North Carolina State University, Lee received an Academy Award in Fiction from American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1999. Her recent ON AGATE HILL won the Thomas Wolfe Award.

Harilaos Stecopoulos
is the author of RECONSTRUCTING THE WORLD: SOUTHERN FICTIONS AND U.S. IMPERIALISMS, 1898-1976 (Cornell UP, 2008). He teaches U.S. literary and cultural studies at the University of Iowa.

Susan Straight is the author of six novels, including I BEEN IN SORROW'S KITCHEN AND LICKED OUT ALL THE POTS (set in South Carolina and Southern California), THE GETTIN PLACE (set in Tulsa, Texas, and Southern California) and A MILLION NIGHTINGALES (set in Louisiana).

Adrienne Su
, born and raised in Atlanta, is the author of three books of poems, MIDDLE KINGDOM, SANCTUARY, and HAVING NONE OF IT, and is poet-in-residence at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Joy Dickinson Tipping is an arts writer and editor at THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS, where she frequently reviews books and conducts author interviews. She is the author of two literary travel books, HAUNTED CITY, a guide to New Orleans for Anne Rice fans, and SCARLETT SLEPT HERE: A BOOK LOVER'S GUIDE TO THE SOUTH.

Wells Tower is the author of EVERYTHING RAVAGED, EVERYTHING BURNED, a collection of short fiction. He lives in New York and North Carolina.

Timothy B. Tyson is senior research scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and Visiting Professor of American Christianity and Southern Culture at Duke Divinity School. He is the author of BLOOD DONE SIGN MY NAME: A TRUE STORY, which won the 2005 Southern Book Award, RADIO FREE DIXIE: ROBERT F. WILLIAMS AND THE ROOTS OF BLACK POWER, which won the Frederick Jackson Turner Award and the James Rawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians, and co-editor with David S. Cecelski of DEMOCRACY BETRAYED: THE WILMINGTON RACE RIOT OF 1898 AND ITS LEGACY.

Matthew Vollmer's first book, a collection of stories titled FUTURE MISSIONARIES OF AMERICA, was published earlier this year. He lives in Blacksburg, Virginia, where he is finishing the first draft of a novel.

Nicole A. Waligora-Davis is an assistant professor of English at Rice University. She is currently completing a book, SANCTUARY: AFRICAN AMERICANS AND THE AMERICAN EMPIRE (under contract with Oxford University Press). An associate editor of REMEMBERING JIM CROW, her essays have appeared in CENTENNIAL REVIEW, AFRICAN AMERICAN REVIEW, MODERN FICTION STUDIES, and MISSISSIPPI QUARTERLY.

Allison Wallace
hails from the piney woods of southeastern Louisiana. Her first full-time faculty post, at Unity College in central Maine, lasted nine years; all those cold, bitter New England springs eventually moved her to trace her way back South, via the Honors College at the University of Central Arkansas, where she has been since the fall of 2001—minus a half-year spent on a Fulbright grant at the University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan. Food and farming, as well as the art of the essay, remain her personal and professional passions.

Anthony Walton is the author of MISSISSIPPI: AN AMERICAN JOURNEY and the co-editor, with Michael S. Harper, of THE VINTAGE BOOK OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN POETRY. His journalism, criticism and commentary have appeared widely, including in THE OXFORD AMERICAN.

Josh Weil is the author of THE NEW VALLEY, a NEW YORK TIMES Editors' Choice. A former Fulbright Fellow, and winner of the Dana Award, he has written for GRANTA, the NEW YORK TIMES, POETS & WRITERS, NEW ENGLAND REVIEW, and NARRATIVE MAGAZINE. As the 2009-2010 Tickner Writing Fellow, he is the writer-in-residence at Gilman School in Baltimore, Maryland.

Robert M. West is an associate professor of English at Mississippi State University, where he also serves as an associate editor of MISSISSIPPI QUARTERLY: THE JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN CULTURES.

James Whorton, Jr., is the author of two novels, FRANKLAND and APPROXIMATELY HEAVEN. He is from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and now lives in Rochester, New York.

Allen Wier has published four novels and a collection of stories; his most recent novel is TEHANO. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, Wier teaches at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Robert Wilson is the editor of THE AMERICAN SCHOLAR and the author of THE EXPLORER KING.

Solon Timothy Woodward studied philosophy and biology at Harvard. His short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. A practicing physician, Woodward lives with his family in Jacksonville, Florida. His first novel, CADILLAC ORPHEUS, was published last year by Simon and Schuster.

Reggie Scott Young is an associate professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he teaches courses in American literature, ethnic literature, and creative writing. His graduate seminars include courses titled "The Blues Aesthetic in American Literature" and "Faith, Conjure and Resistance in the African American Tradition." He is a contributor to THE OXFORD AMERICAN, and he recently compiled and edited his second book on Ernest J. Gaines, THIS LOUISIANA THING: THE LEGACY OF ERNEST J. GAINES (a book in words and pictures, with Marcia Gaudet and Wiley Cash).

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