Think of the deepest place in the Ole Confederacy and you think of the Magnolia State! Mississippi is also known for being the poorest, least educated, fattest, and most religious state in the Union.
Despite these less than congratulatory superlatives, Mississippi has also managed in her poverty, obesity, and ignorance to produce Wm. Faulkner, B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Oprah Winfrey, Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty, Jimmy Buffet, Richard Ford, Muddy Waters, Richard Wright and a whole bushel basket of other extraordinary people.
One of these extraordinary people died recently--novelist, short story writer, and teacher, Barry Hannah.
OXFORD, Miss. – An inspiration and mentor to a generation of young American writers, acclaimed Mississippi author Barry Hannah, 67, died Monday at his home. He was the writer-in-residence at the University of Mississippi and director of its Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program.
Barry Hannah accepts his award as a Distinguished Faculty Fellow from the College of Liberal Arts in 2002. UM photo by Robert Jordan.
Hannah won numerous awards and international recognition. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in fiction for his short story collection "High Lonesome" (1996). His first published novel, "Geronimo Rex" (1972), won the William Faulkner Prize for writing and earned him a nomination for the National Book Award.
In 1987, I took a graduate creative writing class with Barry. It was--to say the least--an eye-opening experience.
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