The South has been home to some of America’s greatest writers, penning books that are widely considered to be “classics.” They take their surroundings and incorporate them into the tales. These places also might influence visitors to write their own stories.
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The town in Georgia’s Lake Country was the birthplace of not just one, but two notable authors. Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, and Joel Chandler Harris, writer of the Uncle Remus stories, both called the area home. Southern gothic writer Flannery O’Connor hailed from neighboring Milledgeville.
The Lowcountry, South Carolina
Pat Conroy is one of the most prolific, penning over ten books, many inspired by his surroundings. His legacy is honored at the Pat Conroy Literary Center.
Contemporary authors like Sue Monk Kidd and Bret Lott call the region home. They’ve appeared, alongside many other writers, at Blue Bicycle Books, owned by writer Jonathan Sanchez.
While John Grisham hails from Arkansas, his work has been inspired by Memphis and the Mississippi Delta. The Client and The Firm are two of the most well-known works set in the Bluff City. Grisham worked at the courthouse in the suburb of Hernando, Mississippi, influencing his stories.
Peter Taylor, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Summons to Memphis, attended high school and then Rhodes College in Memphis. Pick up these works at Novel, one of the best bookstores in Tennessee.
In addition to the Monroe County Courthouse and Museum, visitors can see the monument to Lee’s Atticus Finch character. The town hosts readings of To Kill a Mockingbird and an annual author festival. Browse for books by Lee, Capote, and others at Ol’ Curiosities & Book Shoppe.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Tennessee Williams wrote some of his most famous works from New Orleans, like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire, specifically the hotels like The Pontchartrain, Hotel Monteleone, and the Royal Orleans Hotel.
Faulkner’s literary impact continues with the Oxford Conference for the Book and the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference. Square Books is one of the best bookstores in the South, hosting a live radio broadcast and countless author events between its three shops.