Sunday, October 11, 2009


Apologies for the cheap title, but I couldn't resist it!

Anyway, here I am in Nashville, Country Music Capital, and I thought this morning about the South and Southern writers. I have always been a voracious reader of a certain type of literature, a type of prose that is more poetic and lyrical than the styles you might find in other types of literature, and it occurred to me - not for the first time - that the vast majority of writers I read are from the South. Here we have writers who have not only written the very best books that have come out of the USA, but writers that have written the very best books in the world. Capote, Harper Lee, Daniel Woodrell, Tim Gautreax, Ron Rash, Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Thomas Woolfe, Robert Penn Warren, Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, Carson McCullers, and despite the fact that Cormac McCarthy was born in Rhode Island he moved to Knoxville when he was four and grew up there.
And those above are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head!
'A Quiet Belief In Angels' was selected for a promotional campaign run by the Southern Independent Booksellers' Association. For the fall they have selected a number of titles that deal with the South, or are of Southern origin. The sense of privilege I feel to have been included in this promotion (called the 'Okra Pick') is immense. I walk amongst giants - tiny, somewhat overwhelmed - but extraordinarily fortune and privileged to be somewhere within their collective shadow.
I am going now to do my event at the Southern Festival of Books. Once done I will sign books for whoever might be there. Then there are some other authors' events I wish to attend before returning to Broadway and the Nashville mile...bars and clubs and restaurants from one end of the city centre to the other, all of them featuring some of the best live acts I have ever had the good fortune to see. Anyone who says they don't like country music...well, they haven't heard country music!


Michael Malone said...

some names in there that I also love and some that I keep meaning to read. Have you read any Pat Conroy, another fine southerner (I think)

R J Ellory said...

Yes, have read Pat Conroy. And Ron Rash - have you read him?

Michael Malone said...

Ron Rash. what a great name. Which of his would you recommend I start with?

R J Ellory said...

Apparently 'Serena' is great. Haven't read it. Have just read his short story anthology 'Chemistry and Other Stories' which was great. I'm now reading Dos Passos 'Manhattan Transfer', and then I'm going to read 'Serena'