Richard Gaughran is an Associate Professor of English at James Madison, where he teaches American Literature and Film Studies. He is an alumnus of the Fulbright Program, having taught three years in the Republic of Macedonia (now North Macedonia), where he edited and translated a collection of short stories from the region. Recent publications include work on the Coen Brothers, one on Don DeLillo’s The Names, and one on films featuring the American South.
1:15 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
State Capitol, Senate Committee Room F
Twenty-First-Century Southern Writers: New Voices and New Perspectives
with Richard Gaughran and Dixon Hearne
2:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Cavalier House Bookselling Tent
Twenty-First-Century Southern Writers: New Voices, New Perspectives (editor)
Contributions by Destiny O. Birdsong, Jean W. Cash, Kevin Catalano, Amanda Dean Freeman, David Gates, Richard Gaughran, Rebecca Godwin, Joan Wylie Hall, Dixon Hearne, Phillip Howerton, Emily D. Langhorne, Shawn E. Miller, Melody Pritchard, Nick Ripatrazone, Bes Stark Spangler, Scott Hamilton Suter, Melanie Benson Taylor, Jay Varner, and Scott D. Yarbrough
Twenty-First-Century Southern Writers: New Voices, New Perspectives, an anthology of critical essays, introduces a new group of fiction writers from the American South. These fresh voices, like their twentieth-century predecessors, examine what it means to be a southerner in the modern world.
These writers’ works cover wide-ranging subjects and themes: the history of the region, the continued problems of the working-class South, the racial divisions that have continued, the violence of the modern world, and the difficulties of establishing a spiritual identity in a modern context. The approaches and styles vary from writer to writer, with realistic, place-centered description as the foundation of many of their works. They have also created new perspectives regarding point of view, and some have moved toward the inclusion of “magic realism” and even science fiction in their work.
The nineteen essays in Twenty-First-Century Southern Writers feature a handful of fiction writers who are already well known, such as National Book Award–winner Jesmyn Ward, Tayari Jones, Michael Farris Smith, and Inman Majors. Others deserve greater recognition, and, in many cases, works in this anthology will be the first pieces of analysis dedicated to writers and their work. Twenty-First-Century Southern Writers aims to alert scholars of southern literature, as well as the reading public, to an exciting and varied group of writers, while laying a foundation for future examination of these works.
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