writer

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August 26, 1903

Caroline Miller

The first Georgian to win the Pulitzer Prize in fiction was a woman who never went to college. Caroline Miller was born in Waycross and published her first novel, Lamb in His Bosom in 1933. It won the Pulitzer the next year. While Miller worked every day as a housewife and raised three children, she […]

August 5, 1889

Conrad Aiken

A childhood tragedy would haunt poet and author Conrad Aiken all of his life, and provide the psychological foundation for much of his writing. Perhaps Georgia’s most famous poet, Aiken was born in Savannah. When he was only 11 years old, his father killed his mother and then committed suicide. Later, Aiken attended Harvard and […]

July 17, 1924

Olive Ann Burns

Cold Sassy Tree, a coming of age tale set in turn of the century Georgia, was inspired by some bad news. Olive Ann Burns was a writer for the Atlanta Constitution in 1975 when she was diagnosed with cancer. She walked out of the doctor’s office determined to write a novel. Born in Banks County […]

June 15, 1826

Bill Arp

Missouri has Mark Twain. Georgia has Bill Arp, the pen name for Charles Henry Smith. Born in Lawrenceville in 1826, Smith moved to Rome in 1851 to practice law. After the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, Smith wrote a letter under the pen name “Bill Arp” to President Lincoln in the humorous dialect favored by […]

June 7, 1935

Harry Crews

He was hailed as a bold new Southern writer in the Southern Gothic tradition, with his books populated by strange characters in a brutal and darkly humorous South. It was a world Harry Crews knew well. Born in Bacon County in 1935 to poor farmers, Crews grew up with a violent and drunken uncle who […]

May 23, 1914

Celestine Sibley

She was a Southern icon whose byline appeared in the Atlanta Constitution for 58 years. Celestine Sibley was born in Florida in 1914. She got her first job at the Mobile Press Register before moving to Atlanta and going to work at the Constitution in 1941. The manpower shortage caused by World War II provided […]

May 2, 1981

Murder in Savannah Inspires Bestselling Book

In Savannah it’s “the book.” John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was published in January 1994. The non-fiction account of antiques dealer Jim Williams’ trial for murdering Danny Hansford became a major bestseller. Waves of welcome tourists flooded Savannah, searching for the places and characters Berendt made famous: the Mercer House […]

March 25, 1925

Flannery O’Connor

She was one of Georgia’s most famous literary figures. Mary Flannery O’Connor was born in Savannah in 1925 and graduated from Georgia State College for Women. Then it was on to the University of Iowa, home to the famous Writers’ Workshop, where she rubbed elbows with some of America’s leading writers. Moving to New York, […]

March 17, 1869

Corra Harris

Before Margaret Mitchell, before Flannery O’Connor, Georgia produced a female author who was just as famous in her day. Corra Harris was born in Elbert County in 1869. Her writing career began out of economic necessity because of her minister husband’s alcoholism and depression. Harris wrote a letter to a New York magazine defending the […]

February 23, 1868

W.E.B. Du Bois

He was one of the most influential black leaders of the 20th century, and he taught in Atlanta for almost 25 years. W.E.B. Du Bois was born in Massachusetts in 1868 and received a PhD. from Harvard in 1895—the same year Booker T. Washington made his famous “Atlanta Compromise” speech, calling for accommodation rather than […]

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