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New Stories from the South 1999: The Year's Best (New Stories from the South)by Shannon Ravenel
Synopses & Reviews
It was an anthology that began simply enough: as a way to gather together the best kinds of writing going on in the South. It was also a way, back then, for editor Shannon Ravenel to keep tabs on who was writing what. Some of those voices that she heard first are now well-known: Barbara Kingsolver, Robert Olen Butler, Marly Swick, Rick Bass, Abraham Verghese, James Lee Burke, Larry Brown.
Our goal is still the same-to find the most original and affecting stories. And this year, in our newest tradition, we're pleased to include a preface by Tony Earley, which calls into question the message of one of the most-anthologized Southern stories of our time.
The 1999 edition gathers stories by: Michael Knight, Pinckney Benedict, Richard Schmitt, Clyde Edgerton, Andrew Alexander, Mary Clyde, Richard Bausch, Tony Earley, Michael Erard, Rick DeMarinis, Heather Sellers, Kurt Rheinheimer, Ingrid Hill, William Gay, Janice Daugharty, Mary Gordon, George Singleton, Tom Franklin
Laura Payne Butler, and Wendy Brenner.
An indispensable resource for aspiring writers, students, and readers of Southern fiction, New Stories from the South also includes the story behind each story. We continue to offer an updated list of magazines consulted by the editor, along with a complete list of all the stories selected each year since the series' inception, in 1986.
The only annual anthology showcasing the best fiction written in and about the South--by Southern writers--celebrates its 14th year.
An honest look at the South
In this year's preface, Tony Earley writes, "It is easy to make up characters who live in double-wide mobile homes, wear beehive hairdos and feed caps, never put a g on the end of a participle, have sex with their cousins, voted for George Wallace, who squint and spit whenever an out-of-towner uses a polysyllabic word; who aspire only to own a bass boat, scare a Yankee, have sex with their cousins again, burn a cross, eat something fried, speak in tongues, do anything butt nekkid...What is difficult is to take the poor, the uneducated, the superstitious, the backward, the redneck, the 'trailer trash,' and make them real human beings, with hopes and dreams and aspirations as real and valid, and as worthy of our fair consideration, as any Cheeverian Westchester County housewife."
We couldn't agree more. Just as Tony Earley makes a plea for honest writing by challenging the stereotypes that wend their way through Southern literature, so Shannon Ravenel picks twenty singular writers who tell honest stories. Whether it's the Edgar-winning story of three orphaned brothers or the young girl who ends up in a strange motel room with a man she hardly knows or the old man who kills his son, every story here tells the honest truth about the South in unforgettable ways.
About the Author
Tony Earley was selected by Granta as one of today's best young writers, The New Yorker featured him in its best young fiction writers issue, and his first novel, Jim the Boy, became a national best-seller. He is also the author of a highly praised collection of short stories, Here We Are in Paradise. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife and teaches writing at Vanderbilt University.
Shannon Ravenel has edited New Stories from the South since 1986. Formerly editorial director of Algonquin Books, she now directs her Algonquin imprint, Shannon Ravenel Books. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
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