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Friday, March 30, 2012

Southern Writers & Writing Contests

An amazing thing has happened - not a single entry for the March MAC contest, so either all you great writers have spring fever or you've been busy submitting entries to those big contests. I hope many of you have submitted entries to the Baldwin Writers Group's anthology contest to raise money for Nolan White, local writer and editor, whose family lost everything they owned to fire last December. The topic is courage and endurance and you can find info at Info on the April MAC contest will be posted Sunday, April 1.

As for my year of focusing on Southern writers, I've been reading several older publications by well-known author, Katherine Anne Porter. Porter grew up in Texas and Louisiana, won a Pulitzer for her short stories, a National Book Award, and four Gold Medal Awards, had three fiction nominations for a Novel prize in literature and wrote Ship of Fools which was made into a movie starring none other than Vivien Leigh, Simone Signoret, Lee Marvin, George Segal, Jose Greco, and Werner Klemperer. And that is one of my better long sentences, which cj loathes, and I love.

I found Ship of Fools an excellent character study of a group of people isolated on a ship for months. Porter gives readers an indepth view of the passengers in late 1931, some of which are headed for what they imagine to be heroic returns to Germany and others banished from Cuba to other islands. The reader knows full well what those returning to Germany are about to face, and I found myself wanting to yell at them to turn back before it was too late. Porter's use of the self-contained, different communities on the ship was a brilliant tool to analyze the huge variety of prejudices we humans use to stratify each other, e.g. religious and political beliefs, wealth, country of origin, languages, age, and so forth. Porter gives me another Southern writer to be brag about, one I should have known about long ago.

And for a current-day read, take a look at the work of Jan Karon, the author I turn to when I need comfort food. Whether you read her Mitford series, her children books, or her non-fiction work, it will feed your soul, make you laugh, give you faith in humankind, and reveal how a good book captures the reader’s attention and holds it across every page. (Sorry cj, another great long sentence, if I do say so. Need to catch your breath, go to

Grab book and head outside at this special time of the year. Mahala

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