Out of Print
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. Working quickly and unobtrusively, David G. Spielman photographed many of the authors in the places where the creative process occurs - their special writing spaces - whether 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, or a cramped office for Clyde Edgerton, where he works with his bare feet propped on a book-strewn, paper-strewn coffee table. Others are pictured in the places where they relax: Lee Smith outdoors at her home in Hillsborough, 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 in just 210 days. Longtime book critic William W. Starr offers biographical sketches to accompany each photograph. In these short essays he describes the process by which each writer writes - not just what but when and where and how, and sometimes even why. He uncovers the agony that often lies behind a seemingly free-flowing narrative and describes the idiosyncratic methods with which the writers approach their solitary art: some working long before sunrise, others never writing before late in the afternoon, more than a handful composing in longhand while others make use of the latest technology. Starr also shares the illuminating and often amusing details of Spielman's photo sessions, discusses the writers' surprising extra-literary careers, and records other revealing facts about the lives and careers of these engaging individuals.