Note: We’re traveling through Montgomery, Alabama, so look for Facebook and Twitter posts from Zelda Fitzgerald’s hometown today.
Gore Vidal’s Southern Ties
Feuds with everyone from Norman Mailer to Andy Warhol dominated the coverage of author, playwright, essayist and political activist Gore Vidal on Wednesday. We were curious if Vidal had butted heads with any Southern authors, and, unsurprisingly, Truman Capote turned up. In 1979, Vidal accused Capote of libel for saying he had been thrown out of the White House for bad behavior. He accused Capote of making “lying an art form,” and a feud where the two men attacked each other’s work ensued. (Capote had published “In Cold Blood” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by that time.) Vidal was quoted in a newspaper as saying, “Capote I truly loathed. The way you might loathe an animal. A filthy animal that has found its way into the house.”
It’s said that their rivalry caused playwright Tennessee Williams to say, “You would think they were running neck-and-neck for some fabulous gold prize.” It’s obvious the pair shared strong opinions on others in their industry, but they did have their support of gay rights in common. Tennessee Williams seems to have gotten along with Vidal, who invited him to Palm Beach to meet John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1958. The group (pictured above) drank cocktails and did some skeet shooting. Afterward, Williams told Vidal the couple was way too attractive to get elected to the White House.
Vidal ended up writing the screenplay for the film adaptation of “Suddenly Last Summer” and wrote the introduction for Williams’ book “Tennessee Williams: Collected Stories.” In his own book, “The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal,” he has a chapter titled “Some Memories of the Glorious Bird and an Earlier Self.” “The Glorious Bird” is Williams.
Literary New & Blogs
Jay Gatsby and Tea Cake Woods both made The Written Word blog’s list of Literary Bad Boys We Love to Love. Are they really just misunderstood?
The Los Angeles Review of Books’ William Giraldi on Padgett Powell’s “You & Me,” who says the book ”elevates the Southern art of front-porch badinage to metaphysical heights and then drops it into depths of the ridiculous.”
Grand Coteau, Louisiana’s hidden literary gem, Casa Azul, in The Independent Weekly.
It was announced that Reese Witherspoon will produce and star in “Gone Girl,” Gillian Flynn’s hit novel of the summer. We couldn’t claim the book as Southern and include it in our reading list, but its setting along the Mississippi River and weaving of Mark Twain’s boyhood home into the plot are enough for a Literary Friday inclusion. Not sure if Reese can pull off the character of Amy, but we’ll be watching to find out.
“A Land More Kind Than Home” author Wiley Cash’s list of 11 Greatest Southern Novels in The Huffington Post. In the intro, Cash worries entire Southern towns may turn against him for leaving out their native son, but his list is a great mix of novels you’ve probably read and others you’ve never heard of.
Author of “Leaving Gee’s Bend,” Irene Latham has a post about visiting literary New England on her blog. She hits all the highlights and tells you where to stay and eat.
Summer Reading List Winners & Giveaways
The deadline to enter our Summer Reading List Giveaway has passed, but that doesn’t mean we’re done giving away books. If you commented by August 1, you may have a summer read coming your way. This week, a book is going to @MissSusie66 for tweeting about and commenting on our list.
Enter to win a set of 10 William Faulkner books from Book Riot by August 5.
For the chance to win the “Shine, Shine, Shine” audiobook, visit Joshilyn Jackson’s Faster Than Kudzu blog. Jackson narrates the audiobook and is helping to spread the word about Virginia author Lydia Netzer’s first book.
Join Deep South in Mississippi this month at booksignings for “River Witch” author Kimberly Brock, featuring Anna Kline and the Grits & Soul Band. We’ll be traveling to Jackson on August 13 for a 5 p.m. reading, signing and music at Lemuria Books and Greenwood on August 14 for a 5:30 p.m. event at Turnrow Book Co.
The Decatur Book Festival will take place in and around the Decatur, Georgia, square August 31-September 2, presenting authors Mary Kay Andrews, Meg Cabot, Mark Childress, John T. Edge, Joshilyn Jackson, Karen White and many more.
The 11th annual Tennessee Williams Tribute and Tour of Victorian Homes will be held in Columbus, Mississippi, September 4-9. Special guests include Dr. Kenneth Holditch and Tony Award nominees Alison Fraser and Allison Leyton Brown, in addition to a performance of “The Rose Tattoo” and a Stella Shouting Contest. See the ad on the top right for more info.
Scheduled for October 12-14, the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville announced its lineup last week, which includes Gillian Flynn, Lauren Groff, Kimberly Brock, Lydia Netzer, Ron Rash and Bobbie Ann Mason.
The Louisiana Book Festival will be held October 27 in Baton Rouge at the State Capitol. This festival hasn’t announced their lineup yet, but we’ve heard Cory MacLauchlin, Rick Bragg and Wiley Cash will be there.
A Flannery O’Connor Symposium, co-sponsored by Deep South, is scheduled for November 9-10 in Lafayette, Louisiana, on the UL Lafayette campus. We’ll be releasing more details as it gets closer to the event.
Also that weekend is the Georgia Literary Festival at the new Jekyll Island Convention Center, which will include Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, Chef Hugh Acheson, Mary Kay Andrews and Steve Berry.
Gregory Luce’s poem, “Melon,” as part of our summer Ode to Watermelon this month.
Check out the Literary Friday Pinterest board here!
Got a piece of literary news you’d like to share with us? E-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.