Eudora Welty (1909 – 2001), the respected Southern American author, was known for her ability to capture a sense of place in her novels, stories, and memoirs. Her work explores the separateness of individuals, the character of communities, family relationships, and the healing potential of love.
Welty’s writing style varied, but with no doubt ever that she was in command of her craft. Her stories and novels can be seen as quaint and understated or else wonderfully strange and funny. Here are some inspiring thoughts on writing by Eudora Welty (most, fittingly, from her 2002 book On Writing), sure to encourage writers no matter where they are on their journeys. Read More→
Nella Larsen‘s novel Passing (1929) focuses on two middle-class black women who reunite after a long break since their childhood friendship. It’s the story of two friends, Irene and Clare, both of mixed race, and both who present a mostly white appearance.
But Clare has chosen to cross over the color line to live as white, even having married a white man who turns out to be a bigot. Irene “passes” when convenient, but lives in the black community with her black doctor husband and two sons. The women reunite after an absence of twelve years from their friendship, with dramatic consequences. Read More→
George Hutchinson’s biography, In Search of Nella Larsen: A Biography of the Color Line (2006) delves into Larsen’s experience as a mixed-race woman in a society obsessed with identity. This factor weighed in on Larsen’s unique perspective on the world, showing up as themes in her two novels, Quicksand (1928) and Passing (1929).
Hutchinson pays homage to Nella Larsen‘s influence in the world of African-American art; namely the era of the Harlem Renaissance as she progressed as a writer despite the boundaries of race. Read More→
The Four Difficuties of Becoming A Writer is a segment excerpted from Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande (1934), proving that good writing advice is timeless:
There is a sort of writer’s magic. There is a procedure which many an author has come upon by happy accident or has worked out for himself which can, in part, be taught. To be ready to learn it you will have to go by a rather roundabout way, first considering the main difficulties which you will meet, then embarking on simple, but stringently self-enforced exercises to overcome those difficulties. Last of all you must have faith, or the curiosity, to take one odd piece of advice which will be unlike any of the exhortations that have come your way in classrooms or in textbooks.
Description of The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty (1960) adapted from the 1972 Random House edition: Laurel Hand, long absent from the South, comes from Chicago to New Orleans, where her father dies after surgery.
With Fay, the stupid young wife of her father, Laurel returns to her former Mississippi home and stays a few days after the funeral for reunions with old friends. In a night alone in the house she grew up in, she confronts elements of the past and comes to a better understanding of it and of herself and her parents. Read More→