A revealing pictorial of the South's leading writers
Through a series of striking photographs Southern Writers affords readers a remarkable opportunity to peer into the personal and professional lives of seventy-two critically and popularly acclaimed writers of the contemporary American South. Unlike many collections of author photographs developed from elaborate photo sessions, the photos assembled in this volume utilize available light, uncomplicated equipment, and a minimum of fuss to present truly authentic portraits of the writers on their native ground.
Working quickly and unobtrusively, David G. Spielman photographed many of the authors in the places where the creative process occurs—their special writing spaces—a "cheap motel room" for Terry Kay; a comfortable, well-furnished den for Anne Rivers Siddons, the Confederate Home in downtown Charleston for Josephine Humphreys, a cramped office for Clyde Edgerton, where he works with his bare feet propped on a book- and paper-strewn coffee table. Others are pictured in the places where they relax: Lee Smith outdoors at her home in Hillborough, North Carolina, James Wilcox in a Manhattan park not far from his writing room and Dori Sanders in the shade of her peach stand. Determined to produce a pictorial as current as it is genuine, Spielman completed all but four of the portraits for the project in just 210 days.
Longtime book critic William W. Starr offers biographical sketches to accompany each photograph. In these short essays he describes the illuminating -- and often amusing -- details of each photo session, the particular writing practices of each author, and intriguing facts that color the lives and careers of these engaging individuals.
David G. Spielman has worked as a free-lance photographer since 1972. He has traveled throughout the world to photograph political, literary, artistic, and musical figures, including Mikhail Gorbachev, Pope John Paul II, Lord Philip Mountbatten, James Taylor, Richard Nixon, and Gerry Adams. His photographs are held in private collections and museums throughout the world.
William W. Starr, a native of Atlanta, has been book editor of The State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, for more than twenty years. He has interviewed scores of authors, including Robert Penn Warren, Walker Percy, Allen Tate, Saul Bellow, and John Cheever, in addition to the writers featured in this book.
"A very personable book to look through and savor time and again."—Brad Hooper, Booklist