The South has produced some great writers. Below you'll find Georgia writers you know and a few you may not.
Even though Terry Kay has found his place in Georgia literature as a classic author he’s alive and writing today. His first novel The Year the Lights Came On, published in 1976 is based on Mr. Kay’s memories of growing up in rural Georgia and how the community reacted to the advancement of electrical power. His most famous novel is To Dance with the White Dog that is believed by many to be one of the most touching and inspirational books of all time.
Terry Kay has won numerous awards and received more recognitions than can be named in this concise review. To learn about the South and to experience a truly remarkable author read anything by Terry Kay.
Learn more about Terry Kay at our page that includes a biography, book list, awards, and more.
No one can think of the South very long without thinking about Gone With the Wind by Georgia writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Margaret Mitchell. Ms. Mitchell was a modest lady and a true Southerner that understood the little things that make the South special. She died tragically in 1949 after being struck by a car. Her loss was mourned by Georgians and even today her name is spoken with reverence.
Today you can tour the Margaret Mitchell House in midtown Atlanta where Mitchell lived when she wrote Gone with the Wind.
Eatonton Native Alice Walker wrote the famous book The Color Purple that has been adapted as a musical and a popular movie. Walker won the Pulitzer Prize for The Color Purple. She is also a renowned poet and activist. Walker attended Spelman College in Atlanta, but transferred to Sarah Lawrence College where she graduated in 1965.
1889 – 1973
This 1930 Pulitzer Prize winner wrote novels, short stories, essays, and poems for which he won the Pulitzer. He was born in Savannah, Georgia to prominent parents that tragically died in a murder-suicide. After this event, at age eleven, Conrad Aiken was raised by his aunt in Massachusetts. Aiken attended Harvard and in 1912 married and had three children before later divorcing. He would be married two more times.
Aiken returned to Georgia to live in Savannah and is now buried in the famous Bonventure Cemetery. There is a bench next to his grave inscribed with, "Give my love to the world," and "Cosmos Mariner—Destination Unknown."
Scott Thompson was born in Newnan, Georgia in 1972. He graduated from Newnan High School and then attended Young Harris College where he studied theatre and was a member of the Upsilon Delta Sigma fraternity. In 2010 Thompson won the Great American Novel contest in the literary category and published his novel, Young Men Shall See. What made Thompson's novel unique was that it dealt with integration in the South in the 1980s. While most books, movies, and other media concentrate on the 1960s and before when telling stories of race in the South, Thompson's book looked at the time after integration.
In Young Men Shall See several teenagers, from various backgrounds, deal with life in a small town, their newly integrated South, and political corruption. The town in the novel is based on Thompson's real-life hometown of Newnan.
Thompson now lives near Suwanee, Georgia with his wife and children.
1923 – 1997
James Dickey has been rated as one of Georgia’s most important poets, but he’s best remembered for his novel Deliverance .
Dickey attended Clemson, flew for the Army Air Corps in WW II, and after the war graduated from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. After college he wrote advertising copy in Atlanta before becoming a teacher and full time writer. Many Georgians have a love-hate relationship with Dickey. He showed the contrast between the mountains and the rest of the state, and other concepts most did not want shared with the rest of the world. This webmaster's personal experience with North Georgia and the people of the region is very positive, and has introduced him to many intelligent and kind people that are nothing like what Dickey portrayed. Regardless of opinions about the people of the region this book is about much more and is a study into the mind of man that is removed from modern civilization and has to quickly adapt to survive.
James Dickey may be remembered best for his novel Deliverance, but he was also a great poet. A good collection of his poems can be found in The Whole Motion: Collected Poems, 1945-1992
Flannery O’Connor was one of the South’s most famous writers. She often wrote in the Southern Gothic style during her short life of just under forty years. Despite being ill with lupus for much of her life she was still a prolific writer producing two books of short stories and the novels Wise Blood and The Violent Bear It Away.
Ms. O’Connor never married and spent many of her years with her mother on her farm in Milledgeville, Georgia. She was progressive in many ways for the time and place she lived making a memorable mark on Southern literature.
Caldwell was born in the small town of Moreland, just outside of Newnan, Georgia in 1903 but he spent much of his young life moving around various places in the South with his minister father. Caldwell published many works but he is best known for God's Little Acre and Tobacco Road.
Mr. Caldwell became a world traveler spending as much as six months out of each year in a different country. His works are known worldwide and had a profound impact on the plight of the poor laborer of the South.
Conroy’s childhood under an abusive father drove many of the images and themes seen in his books. Especially his most famous work The Great Santini, that eventually helped change his father and heal their relationship. Other famous novels by Pat Conroy include The Lords of Discipline, The Prince of Tides, and Beach Music.
Many of Mr. Conroy’s novels are set in Georgia’s neighbor
South Carolina, especially in Charleston.
Many of his themes are dark as he uses writing as an outlet
to express deep internal pain. Conroy is a must read author
who is currently a South Carolinian but was born in Georgia
so we love to claim him as much and often as possible.
Learn more about Pat Conroy
If you didn't read the Tales of Uncle Remus as a child you missed out on a wonderful experience. Harris based his works on the oral stories passed down by African Americans.
The stories of Br'er Rabbit and friends are a must read for anyone wanting to understand the underlying psychology of race relations in the South in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. The stories hold lessons that can apply to anyone in any generation but are especially important to the South.
Sidney Lanier was a multi-talented man that accomplished much in his short life. He combined religion, nature, and the culture of the South to create moving poems and songs like the popular “The Song of the Chattahoochee.” Today you can read Lanier's collection of poems in Poems of Sidney Lanier
Lanier is remembered today with a lake in his name, Lake Lanier, at the foot of the North Georgia Mountains.
More Georgia Authors