May 11, 2021

Richards Pens FLS Editorial on Hurston, Welty for ‘Great Lives’ Lecture

Professor Gary Richards, chair of the Department of English and Linguistics

Professor Gary Richards, chair of the Department of English and Linguistics

Professor of English and Chair of the Department of English and Linguistics Gary Richards penned an editorial in The Free Lance-Star in advance of his “Great Lives” lecture on authors Zora Neale Hurston and Eudora Welty on Thursday, March 4. The lecture can be viewed here.

THE AMERICAN South arguably has the nation’s most vibrant, celebrated regional literature, and key among its writers are outstanding women, ranging from Harriet Jacobs, Constance Fenimore Woolson, and Kate Chopin in the 19th century to LeAnne Howe, Jesmyn Ward, and Karen Russell in the 21st century.

The 20th century is a particularly rich era, and one thinks of a constellation of Southern women writers from this period whose works have become integral to our national literary heritage: Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind” (1936); Flannery O’Connor’s macabre short stories; Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1960); Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” (1982); and Dorothy Allison’s “Bastard Out of Carolina” (1992).

However, two female writers from this era stand apart: Zora Neale Hurston (1891–1960) and Eudora Welty (1909–2001). Read more.