Sidney Lanier Prize for Southern Literature
The Sidney Lanier Prize for Southern Literature honors significant career contribution to southern writing in drama, fiction, or poetry. The prize takes its name from Sidney Lanier, the nineteenth-century southern poet born in Macon who wrote "The Song of the Chattahoochee" and "The Marshes of Glynn." Using his name recognizes Middle Georgia's literary heritage and the long, often complicated, tradition of writing about the South. The prize is awarded to writers who have engaged and extended that tradition.
Lee Smith will be presented with the Lanier Prize for 2013, and she will give a public reading at 3:00 on Saturday, April 13, 2013 in the University Center at Mercer University. Her works, set primarily southern Appalachia, are a microcosm of the human experience, using the mountains to accentuate beauty and hardship. She has published several novels and collections of short stories, including Oral History (1983), Family Linen (1985), Fair and Tender Ladies (1988), The Last Girls (2003), and On Agate Hill (2006). She has received a Lifetime Literary Achievement Award from the State of Virginia, the Thomas Wolfe Award, the Academy Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and she is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.
The selection committee for the Lanier Prize includes Mercerians, eminent scholars of southern literature, and members of the Macon community. The committee members are David A. Davis (Chair), Assistant Professor of English at Mercer University; Sharon Colley, Associate Professor of English at Middle Georgia State College; Sarah Gardner, Professor of History at Mercer University; Minrose Gwin, Kenan Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Trudier Harris, Professor of English at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa; Gordon Johnston, Professor of English at Mercer University; Michael Kreyling, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University; Matthew Martin, Knox Professor of Humanities at Wesleyan College; and Pam Thomasson, Past President of Historic Macon.
Ernest Gaines recieved the prize in 2012. A video of Mr. Gaines's reading can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6zAC0Rgteo
Mercer University also offers Sidney Lanier scholarships. High-achieving high school juniors are invited to submit works of fiction or poetry for consideration for up to $20,000 of scholarship funding, contingent on admission and enrollment at Mercer. Click here to apply https://mercer.edu.185r.net/survey/?id=178.
Photo credit: Susan Woodley Raines