SouthWord Abridged 2021
November 5-6, 2021

 Like a beloved shortened novel, SouthWord is going to be "abridged" this year, as a combination of noted authors and members of the Fellowship of Southern Writers come together for a virtual experience of panels and author talks. Authors include Natasha Trethewey, John Shelton Reed, Richard Bausch, George Singleton, Steve Yarbrough, Michel Stone, Daniel Wallace, and Karen Babine.  Presented by Southern Lit Alliance this year's SouthWord Abridged will be particularly special with the presentation of this year's Local Distinguished Author Award.


The Festival is free, but donations are encouraged.



Mr. and Mrs. Olan Mills
With support from
Featuring Keynote Speaker - Natasha Trethewey
Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Natasha Trethewey is a former US Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner.  She's a Professor of English at Northwestern University.   She earned her B.A. from the University of Georgia, her M.A. from Hollins University, and her MFA in poetry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  Her memoir Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir shook the literary world with her honest portrayal of trauma and how it shaped whom she became as an artist.

Opening Keynote Speaker - 

John Shelton Reed
Friday at 6:00 p.m.

Photo Credit Nancy Crampton

Grab some barbeque and join John Shelton Reed for a presentation on his new book On Barbeque ..  John's book is a look at the history of barbeque in the South and all the culture that comes with it.

John Shelton Reed has written a dozen books, innumerable articles, and a country song about the South (and some stuff about other topics). 

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Morning Keynote Speaker - Richard Bausch
Sat. at 10: 00 a.m

Richard Bausch is the author of eleven novels and eight collections of stories, including the novels Rebel Powers, Violence, Good Evening Mr. & Mrs. America And All The Ships At Sea, and the story collections Spirits, Wives & Lovers, and the recently released Something Is Out There. 

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Lunch Keynote Speaker - George Singleton
Sat. 12:00 p.m. - Brown Bag it!

George Singleton will be the highlight of our lunchtime with his noted satire and southern humor. He has built a reputation as one of the "most astute and wise observers of the South."  He has written eight collections of short stories, two novels, and an instructional book on writing fiction including Calloustown, the Half Mammals of Dixie and the recent collection of work You Want More.   He holds the John C. Cobb Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Wofford College.

Singleton, George © Glenda Guion.jpg

Photo credit Glenda Guion

Saturday Panel Speakers
Panel on Southern Literature

Steve Yarbrough is the author of eleven books, most recently the novel The Unmade World, published in January 2018.   He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction, the California Book Award, the Richard Wright Award and the Robert Penn Warren Award. He has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Steve is currently a professor in the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College.  

Novelist Michel Stone  has published more than a dozen short stories and essays in various journals and magazines. She was the recipient of the 2011 South Carolina Fiction Award, and her 2012 debut novel, The Iguana Tree, published by Hub City Press in Spartanburg, South Carolina, received an IPPY Award and was named an Okra Pick (a booksellers’ favorite) by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. Her second novel, Border Child  was recently published by Nan A. Talese

Panel on Publishing
And George Singleton - see above

Daniel Wallace is the author of six novels, including Big FishRay in ReverseThe Watermelon KingMr. Sebastian and the Negro MagicianThe Kings and Queens of Roam, and most recently Extraordinary Adventures  in May 2017,  In 2019 he won the Harper Lee Award. Wallace is the J. Ross MacDonald Distinguished Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his alma mater, where he directs the Creative Writing Program.

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Photo Credit:Paige Phillips

Daniel Wallace.jpg

Photo credit: Iman Woods

Karen Babine is the author of All the Wild Hungers (Milkweed Editions, 2019) and Water and What We Know: Following the Roots of a Northern Life (University of Minnesota, 2015), both winners of the Minnesota Book Award for memoir/creative nonfiction.  She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Eastern Washington University and a PhD in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and teaches classes on the publishing industry.

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Additional Sponsors
Mr. and Mrs. Tom Montague