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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

One of our best 'small town' writers

“I think as the world changes, we have to keep up. We have to note what is happening, and I think writing has always had a powerful corrective influence and possibility. We have to write about what's good, and we also have to write about parts of our culture that are not good, that are not working out. I think it takes a new eye.” – Lee Smith

American fiction author Smith, who celebrates her 72nd birthday today, typically incorporates much of her background from the Southeastern United States in her works. She has received writing awards, such as the O. Henry Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction, the North Carolina Award for Literature, and, in April 2013, was the first recipient of Mercer University's Sidney Lanier Prize for Southern Literature.

I really enjoy her work because it not only is well written, it resonates with my own background of coming from a rural area and small town America.  “I write about people in small towns; I don't write about people living in big cities,” Smith said.  “My kind of storytelling depends upon people that have time to talk to each other.”  Imagine that!
Smith published her first novel 45 years ago, and                      
 in the intervening years, she’s published 12 more novels and four short story collections. Her novel The Last Girls was listed on the New York Times bestseller's list and won the Southern Book Critics Circle Award.

Her advice for young writers is not to use up all their own story in their very first efforts.  “I think what happens to young writers is that they use up every life experience that they have had up to that point for their first novel. Then you have to come up with something for the second novel, but you really don't have anything to say.”

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