Richard Ford’s response to a questioner at the University of Mississippi symposium—that he is a “southerner” but not a “southern writer”—makes him only the latest in a long line of distinguished writers who grew up in the South, but have refused to be corralled into a regional stall. Other contemporary writers from the South, feeling “left out” of a potentially profitable niche market, have sought to broaden the definition of “southern literature.” Instead of worrying about who qualifies as a “southern writer” or rigidly delimiting “southern literature,” we might more fruitfully ask questions about who is writing about the U.S. South (no matter their birthplace or residence), what stories they are telling, what images they are conjuring up, and most importantly why.

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Copyright © 2006 Duke University Press.

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DOI: 10.1215/00029831-78-4-725

Full Citation:

Jones, Suzanne W. "Who Is a Southern Writer?" American Literature 78, no. 4 (December 2006): 725-27. doi:10.1215/00029831-78-4-725.