Literary Friday, Edition 105
Remembering Maya Angelou
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou
Since we’re bringing you Literary Friday direct from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, today, it’s only fitting we remember poet, author and activist Maya Angelou. Her home is located two blocks from Greylun Estate, where we’re staying, and her longtime friend Oprah Winfrey arrives here this weekend. Described as a “warrior for equality, tolerance and peace,” Angelou is best known for her 1970 autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She also wrote the screenplay and composed the score for the 1972 film “Georgia, Georgia.” Her script was the first by an African American woman ever to be filmed and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. In 1996, she directed her first feature film “Down in the Delta.”
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Angelou was also raised in Stamps, Arkansas. She moved to San Francisco to attend school as a teenager and became the city’s first African-American female cable car conductor. She later moved abroad, where she met with Malcolm X in Ghana. Back in the states, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. asked her to serve as Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. With help from friend and novelist James Baldwin, she began work on the book that would become I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She has since served on two presidential committees and received more than 50 honorary degrees. In 1981, she accepted the lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies at Wake Forest University.
Her legacy in Winston-Salem includes the Triad Juneteenth Celebration, The Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at Wake Forest’s School of Medicine and The Maya Angelou Research Center for Minority Health at Wake Forest Baptist. Angelou also donated movie scripts, drafts of plays and other materials related to her work in film, television and theater to the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest. A public memorial service was held at Mount Zion Baptist Church last night, but funeral arrangements haven’t been announced yet.
Read Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey’s tribute to Maya Angelou in The Washington Post here.
And see The Huffington Post‘s collection of stunning newspaper front pages in memory of Maya Angelou here.
The week started out with To Kill A Mockingbird trending on Twitter after the book was dropped by the Department of Education’s English Literature syllabus in England. The reason given was a desire to focus more on the British canon.
In other TKAM news, it appears Harper Lee’s fight with her hometown museum will be going to trial in the fall.
Check out Traveling With T’s Beach Reads, including Mary Alice Monroe’s The Summer Wind and Marybeth Whalen’s The Bridge Tender.
Flavorwire has 10 Literary Luminaries’ Ultimate Summertime Reads, with Faulkner and Carson McCullers making the list.
Country Roads magazine offers up Literary Pilgrimages in the South in its June issue.
Author Frances Mayes is answering questions on Goodreads about her latest book Under Magnolia as part of a new “Ask the Author” series that also includes Jesmyn Ward and 48 other writers.
Auditions for the Tennessee Williams Tribute fall production of “The Glass Menagerie” will be held at St Paul’s Episcopal Church parish hall in Columbus, Mississippi, on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. For more information, call 662-328-5413.
Save the Date for the Mary Kay Andrews launch party also on Sunday at the Westin Buckhead in Atlanta, hosted by Foxtale Book Shoppe. The author will be launching her new book Save the Date, and attendees are encouraged to wear their ugliest bridesmaid dress.
See Dorothea Benton Frank June 3 at Spartanburg Community College for a celebration of the release of her new book The Hurricane Sisters.
The inaugural Walker Percy Weekend will be held June 6-8 in St. Francisville, Louisiana, with panel discussions, themed dinners and a progressive Front Porch Bourbon Tour.
Emily Giffin will be at Parnassus Books in Nashville June 9 for a discussion and signing of her new book The One and Only.
Save the date for the annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference with the theme “Faulkner and History” July 20-24 in Oxford, Mississippi.
See Karen White at TurnRow Books in Greenwood, Mississippi, on June 18, when she’ll be signing and reading from her new novel A Long Time Gone.
The Sweet Potato Queen Jill Conner Browne comes to New Orleans June 19-22 for FestiGals, an event uniting women of all ages. More details on this next week!
Mary Alice Monroe and Patti Callahan Henry will be at the Atlanta History Center‘s Margaret Mitchell House June 25 to discuss their summer reads.
New in Southern Voice
Ambition, a followup to Opal and the Hussy, by Memphis native Diane Thomas-Plunk.
To find out more about Southern authors’ haunts and hangouts, download the Deep South Literary Trail App, available direct from iTunes and for Android. The app has recently been updated with several new sites and lots of new photos just in time for those summer road trips!